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After the conclusion of my internship, I had one day to recover from the madness before hustling to Narita airport to pick up my parentals. They were very, very excited to visit me and let me play tour guide/translator/daughter/cat wrangler. For the first time in the history of my family’s vacations, they wanted to play each day by ear – we’d scheduled trips and hotel stays in other cities, but left our activities for those days open. While they had some ideas for what they wanted to do with their time in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and on Miyajima Island, it was up to me to plan their time in Tokyo.
This post ended up including almost 60 pictures, so I’m breaking into two – check out both parts for the full recap. Due to a combination of laziness and in the interest of keeping these posts short and concise, I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking. If you want more details about anything, just leave a comment or email.
Their first day started with a lesson on how to operate my kitchen. Waking up to breakfast cooked every morning was wonderful. Thanks, Dad.
I’d made Monday’s game plan a tour of the place I knew best: Shibuya. They were eager to see the famous crossing in front of the station.
We stopped for coffee at the Starbucks across the street while I explained where we’d go and what we’d see for the day. They were already making interesting observations about the city, and both seemed excited to continue on. I took them up past the 109 building and through some back streets to my old office building.
Next we headed toward Yoyogi park and Meiji Jingu.
Next we were off to Harajuku, Takeshita Dori, and Omotesando.
We stopped for food and some more reflection on their experiences after just one day in one small part of the city. I took them back through Shibuya at night so they could see how different the same streets appear once all the lights come on.
We spent our evening peeking into shops and getting drinks and dessert near the station before heading home at around 8 or 9 PM. After a day walking around Shibuya, my parents were pretty beat.
Day two was a little slower – we cruised around my neighborhood for a while, then headed to Akihabara to my favorite ramen place for lunch. Then, we were off to the Edo-Tokyo museum, which I mentioned in a previous post. They wanted to get a history lesson, and really enjoyed checking out the artifacts.
We hit up Ginza and the Imperial Palace to check out the place where the run was held. Ginza is one of my favorite places at night, and that night was no exception; it was a beautiful evening.
The next day we packed up and headed off to Tokyo station to get Mom and Dad’s JR passes, then bought tickets to head to Hiroshima. They were stoked for their first ride on the Shinkansen.
After arriving in Hiroshima, we walked a couple blocks from our hotel to find the Hiroshima peace memorial park. It was eerie and I felt like my body temperature dropped several degrees when I entered the grounds. It was a pretty heavy thing to experience. We followed this visit with drinks at a nearby Italian restaurant and drinks at the top of our hotel.
The next day we visited the peace museum. Again, while historical and interesting…not the happiest place on earth. After Hiroshima, our next stop was Miyajima Island, which was a train ride and a ferry ride away.
We arrived at the perfect time of day: just as the sun was setting. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous sight.
My parents wanted to stay in a “traditional” ryokan while we were here. While these places do feature a traditional Japanese housing style, they’re also pretty luxurious. They’re called Ryokans, but I find myself referring to them more as Ryotels…
The hotel stay included breakfast and dinner. Dinner was a 10 course meal consisting of a wide variety of Japanese foods. Much of it was as new to me as to my parents. Our server was kind enough to explain to me what everything was so that I could tell my parents exactly what they were eating. I think we tried everything, but found we liked a few things more than others. This was also Mom and Dad’s first time trying sake – I’m still not sure if they liked it.
Following dinner, we headed back to our room to don our robes before moving downstairs to the “relaxation area”. Free massage chairs were setup for our use. It was a great way to end the night.
The next day consisted of sightseeing, hiking, and a little bit of shopping. We visited Itsukushima Shrine, then headed up for a 2km hike at the top of the island. Amazing, amazing views from up there.
After our hike, we headed back down to the main part of the island to do a little bit of shopping before hopping on the ferry back to the mainland and catching the shinkansen bound for Kyoto.
Check part two for the rest of the trip!