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Monday, November 21, 2016

Adventures in Japan: 2014

In 2014, I took an epic trip to Japan during the cherry blossom season, and I haven't had a chance to write about it. I wanted to make sure I did the trip justice, and I fell into a funk of nothing but business, career, and job. Now that I've got my priorities more settled, it's time to share my amazing Japan trip with you!

It was a whirlwind fifteen days. I visited cousins, gave my respects to my ancestors at our temple, visited our ancestral house, and trekked up a cliff to visit our family grave surrounded by citrus trees. I dressed up as a geisha (maiko to be specific) in Kyoto, hugged deer near Hiroshima, got lost on the Tokyo train system more than once, and explored the enchanting Ghibli Museum. Most of all, I ate tons of amazing Japanese cuisine, and I can't wait to share it with you.

Yawatahama's many graves on the hillside
I thought a bit about how I wanted to present all the information and pictures without turning this blog into a travel blog, but also not leaving you with the impression all I did was stuff my face (to be fair, it was a main feature). So for each city or province I visited, I will have a short post with some history, pictures of what I did besides eat. This regional post will be followed by a review of a restaurant if possible, or perhaps an overview of the regional food will be worked into the first post if not. Lastly, I will have a recipe for each place inspired by my visit. I hope you enjoy sharing my adventures, and I hope that my recipes will allow you to experience a little bit of what I enjoyed on my travels!

This post will stay on top until I complete my Adventures in Japan series so that you can skip to places at your leisure! Each region page will have a list of all the ingredients and recipes associated with it linked at the bottom!

Miss Mochi at Miwajima Island
Fukuoka, Fukuoka prefecture, Kyushu region

Yawatahama, Ehime prefecture, Shikoku region

Beppu and Yuifin, Oita prefecture, Kyushu region

Hiroshima and Miyajima, Hiroshima prefecture, Chogoku region

Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture, Kansai region

Tokyo, Tokyo prefecture, Kanto region


  1. If you only had 5 days in Japan, where would you go? (You know I love to eat and drink, so if you can, please answer accordingly!) ;) Thanks Miss Mochi!!

    1. That's super hard! Kyoto has the most history, arguably the prettiest shrines and temples, and I think you'd enjoy the old world tea shops and little eateries they have. I just about busted myself on mochi, manju, and dango there. However, Tokyo has the most Michelin-starred restaurants, more than any other city in the world (from 9-person ramen shops all the way to the most expensive fork-and-knife restaurants you'd expect from a michelin-starred restaurant). Tokyo is also the easiest to navigate by train. Those two places are probably the front runners for the best all-around because there's so much to do and see there, especially if you like a little night life. I've heard Osaka is also awesome but I can't personally recommend. If you're looking for something with great street food, Fukuoka is arguably right up there.

      If I only had 5 days (and I wasn't visiting family, because I'd be tempted to say Yawatahama and that'd be boring for everyone but me) I would go to Miyajima island. It's got tons of food (hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, fresh oysters, pastries, etc), and it's got a UNESCO world heritage site shrine with the famous floating torii gate. Not to mention tons of deer that are adorably friendly. And I could just wander the streets (there's no cars, really) and eat all day! That'd be a very low-key vacation, however.

      If you're into relaxation while eating, Beppu and Yufuin are spa towns with natural hot springs. When I told a Tokyo business man that I went there, he was super jealous and said that's where everyone who lives in Tokyo wants to go in order to escape the city.

      I'll be moving on to the next cities on my list so stay tuned!