Japan 2018 / by Aleks Sakowski

Last year in October my partner and I traveled to Japan for the first time. We had a blast and can’t wait to go back. We traveled to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. 2 weeks was just enough to get a glimpse of it all but left us wanting to see more.

Tokyo: The city is a Godzilla but beautifully organized. Amazing public transport, coming back to Auckland was like returning to a small village. Tokyo had some of the best french pastries I’ve ever had. Shibuya crossing is like a roller-coaster ride. Our best food experience was at Kaikaia by the sea, a culinary experience I will never forget. We managed to see the Ghibli museum which I highly recommend, working in animation my self, I loved it and walked away with some great books.

Kyoto: The Zen Zone. We stayed at a beautiful hotel with some of the best lighting I have ever seen; Hotel Kanra, I highly recommend it. Our legs were feeling it now from all the excessive walking, there was just to much to see and not enough hours in the day. Nishiki market, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and the beautiful Kamo river, not to mention the myriad of temples placed throughout the city, it was beautiful. We also had a kaiseki In Kyoto, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, absolutely incredible.

Osaka: The trendy hipster american part of Japan. the Markets are packed, and the takoyaki is endless. We went to Universal Studios JP for a whole day and had a great time; the VR Evangelion ride for me was a big highlight, but going on the Jurassic Park 5 times was the icing on the cake. Osaka Aquarium was amazing, one of the biggest in the world. I was on the look out to find a great knife shop searching for a beautiful Japanese kitchen knife to take home and stumbled across Osaka tower, I should of clicked when the shop was called, Tower Knives, great service and bought a beautiful Damascus steel knife that should last my lifetime.

Back to Tokyo: Bullet trains are the best, I wish we had them in New Zealand, super smooth and fast. On our last few days before flying out we checked out the Edward Munch exhibition which was in town, and off course in true Japanese style there were Pokemon branded Munch collectors cards on sale.

Overall I found Japan to be an ultra-mix of styles from all over the world. They some how manage to be influenced by many cultures and add their own touch of Japanese style making it their own. They have immense pride in everything they do no matter how small the job maybe, their uniforms are immaculate and their hospitality was second to none. My only regret was not having more time to explore. We will be back.

Shibuya Stream in Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing

Kamo River in Kyoto

Kamo River in Kyoto

Wandering the streets of Osaka

Osaka Tower

Tokyo from the top of our Hotel in Roppongi. The nocturnal lights of Tokyo lit up the low lying cloud