Tokyo

From its iconic skyscrapers and shrines to its streets filled with millions of people and the smell of delicious food, Tokyo is an amazing city. From the get-go of planning this trip, we have been looking forward to spending about a week and a half here.



Tokyo is full of our favorite things: food, views and streets to get lost in all with a big-city feel. Add in a sumo wrestling tournament, Disney parks and a weekend visit from family and this city and the time spent here make it easily one of our favorite and most memorable experiences so far.

Tokyo is everything you think and imagine it is and more. It is huge with millions of people hurrying to and from in the (surprisingly very organized) chaos. It is tall skyscrapers that light up in neon lights at night. It is DELICIOUS food that can be found on any and every corner. It is full of kind, helpful and hospitable people. And it is true to that you can spend about 10 days here (like we did) and feel like you barely scratched the surface of all that it is.

For the fall, Tokyo is the city that we are staying in the longest, and we hoped that with so many days here that we would have the opportunity to see and experience a lot. But there is just so much to this city, I think you could spend a lifetime here and still never see it all.

With our time though, we did our best to see and experience as much as we possibly could.

We started off our time here with exploring the East Imperial Gardens of the Imperial Palace. They were beautiful. The Emperor and Empress of Japan still reside in the Palace, but the gardens are open to the public, which are a treat to see and explore.






We visited a really cool museum called TeamLab Borderless. We had been told by numerous friends before coming to Tokyo that we MUST visit this museum, and they were right! It was so weird and interesting all at the same time. It is a digital art museum where you can interact with the art that is projected on the walls, floors and ceilings all around you. There was even an area where you could color a picture of a fish, and they would scan the image to be added to the virtual aquarium in the room so of course we had to make one in Nashville Predators colors :)











We visited several Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. They were each beautiful in their own unique way.










We spent time wandering through the Yoyogi Park and the Shinjuku National Gyoen Garden.










We stood in amazement of the size and quantity of buildings, restaurants and skyscrapers all around the city, especially in the Shibuya and Shinjuku districts. They were amazing to see during the day, but when they came alive at night with all the lights, they were even better. We even spotted Godzilla peering over a building in Shinjuku.












We went to a SUMO WRESTLING TOURNAMENT. You read that right. Neither of us knew what to expect, but it was awesome. There are only six major tournaments per year across all of Japan, and we were so excited when we found out that we would be in Tokyo when the Tokyo one was taking place. Of course we had to get tickets. The tournament takes place for 15 days, and we attended one day and loved it. The whole event was fascinating. What we thought would just be a bunch of large men pushing each other around turned out to be deeply rooted in Shinto traditions and rituals. The "bouts" (or matches) only lasted about 10 to 30 seconds each. Then they would move on to the next bout between two new opponents. If you are ever in Japan, we highly recommend you look up whether there is a tournament going on where you are!














We spent a few days at Tokyo Disney. They have two parks on the property: Tokyo Disneyland (similar to Magic Kingdom at Disney World and Disneyland in California) and Disney Sea (it's own thing entirely). We had so much fun running around the parks and being in what we like to call the "Disney bubble" (where you forget about any and all stress and worries and just have fun in a familiar  and super happy place!). We had read a lot about these parks online because many people claim that they are the best. We wouldn't necessarily say that they trump Disney World for us, but we still had a blast. The parks were decorated for Halloween (Disney started Halloween season on September 10th), which made it even more fun!



















Perhaps best of all, my cousin, Megan, flew in to spend the weekend with us! She and her husband, Josh, work for Exxon and live on an island just north of Japan in Russia! We were sad that Josh couldn't make it, but we loved exploring Tokyo with her! We laughed and ate and reminisced and had the best time.








And as you would expect from Tokyo, we ate and ate and ate some more. From different types of ramen to sushi to gyoza to udon to shishimi to nigiri to horumon to tonkatsu to yakitori to yakisoba and even more, we feasted on all that Tokyo had to offer even though I think there's still more to try! We loved getting food at the Tsukiji Fish Market, and while Megan visited, we literally ate our way through Shinjuku one day! YUM.















We had a blast in Tokyo and made some amazing memories in a city that we will never forget and definitely plan to visit again one day. Each city that we've visited has been so special in its own way, and Tokyo is no exception. 

It made it extra special to get to experience it with Megan. A familiar face goes a long way when you're far from home. Family and friends make everything better, and to get to explore a city with family was so fun. We are so grateful that she made the trip to hang out with us!

To get to do something different and experience things outside of your comfort zone is amazing, but to get to do those things with people you love makes it even better. It reminded me that all of this traveling we're doing is wonderful, but to get to do it with Perry and also with Megan makes it even more special. Something that coming from an individualistic society like the U.S. is easy to forget. This weekend we had the opportunity to not only see the sites, but to laugh and have fun together along the way.

So today, may we make more of an effort to spend time together, to not just be in the same room, but to be together. May we treasure our time together with those we love. And may we make time to make memories together that go beyond the places and spaces we're in so that the love and joy we feel overflows into the memories we treasure the most.

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