Our Mainland Adventure

As Casey and I prepare to embark on an exciting adventure to the Mediterranean, I realize that I can no longer delay sharing our last traveling exploits with the world. In September, we toured mainland Japan with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend, visiting Kyoto, Matsumoto, Nagano, and Tokyo. We had an amazing time, and I somehow managed to fall deeper in love with this country that is now our home.


Kinkaku-ji Temple

We flew from Naha into Kobe and then took the train straight to Kyoto, a city where I would be happy to spend the rest of my days. Kyoto’s deep cultural and historical roots bring traditional Japan to life. The medley of these stunning cultural hotspots interwoven through the busy, modern city, and against the backdrop of such pure, natural beauty makes Kyoto infinitely interesting.

2014-02-08 12.33.56From castles to temples and shrines, to fantastic restaurants hidden down dimly lit stone streets; Kyoto is a microcosm of the heartwarming contradiction that is Japan. We definitely plan to go back once we move to mainland this summer, although I may not leave next time.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

We left Kyoto and headed to Matsumoto, where we visited an awesome wasabii farm and castle. Matsumoto castle is the most modern I have seen so far in Japan. We traveled around this quirky little city on bicycles borrowed from our hotel, and enjoyed a delicious izakaya meal for dinner before we were off to our next stop.

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

We spent the next night in Nagano, a city known for some of the best skiing in the world. There, we did some hiking to a shrine and a lake, visited a beautiful Buddhist temple, and went to a tasting at a sake brewery. Casey had some trouble communicating his brewing curiosities to the gentleman at the sake brewery, who instead just sent us inside to tour it ourselves.


Finally, we were off to our last stop: Tokyo. Tokyo could not have been more different than the other cities we visited. Tall buildings, bright lights, and busy streets made Tokyo an exciting, but slightly overwhelming visit. We attended the opening day of the Sumo matches there, which made the top ten on the coolest things I have seen. These massive, solid men were as intense as they come, and the locals took the whole event very seriously. I definitely need to attend another one before we leave Japan. After that, we spent a night out in Roppongi, did some shopping in Harajuku and Akihabara, and went to Tsukiji fish market. Here, we had the world’s freshest sushi for breakfast. (Of course, I went for the veggie and egg rolls).

2014-02-08 14.08.39

After their ten-day visit in Okinawa and Japan, we had to say goodbye to Devon and Lauren. It was wonderful to spend time with them on this incredible trip, which also left us with a renewed excitement for our move to Iwakuni this summer. While we will miss so many things about Okinawa, mainland offers something for everyone to love. Stay tuned for our next adventure on yet another continent!



Categories: Culture, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Our Mainland Adventure

  1. kellymdonovan

    Great post! I am studying Japan in school right now, so this was really fun to read.

    I was actually wondering if you might be interested guest posting this article on my website: http://www.travelerabroad.com.

    It’s a brand new baby website, but I am hoping to turn it into a community of travelers – one in which readers can get travel inspiration and contributors can generate traffic to their own blogs.

    Let me know what you think!


    • Kelly, I would be honored to. Do you need me to do anything so that you can reblog it? Thank you for reading my blog!

      • kellymdonovan

        Awesome! No, you won’t need to do anything. I will publish it on the site, crediting and linking your blog. I’ll send you a link to the post as confirmation.


      • Thank you! πŸ™‚

      • kellymdonovan

        Hi Amanda,

        Your post has been published on Traveler Abroad. You can view it here: http://travelerabroad.com/category/japan/

        Thanks for guest posting and feel free to share content anytime in the future, if you like. TA is all about helping readers find awesome blogs like yours! We also have a form for content sharing, and for submitting an interview – if you like πŸ™‚


      • Kelly, I just looked at your site, but it appears the link to my blog is not working. Not a huge deal, but thought I would mention it. Thanks again!

      • kellymdonovan

        Hi Amanda,

        So sorry about that technical error. I have updated the link and it should work now. Thank you for letting me know – the whole idea of TA is that readers can easily find writers who are writing about places they are interested in. Not too easy if my links aren’t working πŸ˜‰

  2. Pingback: Our Mainland Adventure | TRAVELER ABROAD

  3. Haha, Josh and I laughed reading, “Casey had some trouble communicating his brewing curiosities to the gentleman at the sake brewery, who instead just sent us inside to tour it ourselves.” But you guys are leaving Okinawa?

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