Sightings: Mt Fuji!

During our trip to Japan, we tried to incorporate a couple legs where we could get some R&R to recover from a jammed pack schedule. The first one was Fujiyoshida, Japan. I specifically chose Fujiyoshida because of it’s short distance from the Chureito Pagoda to hopefully catch a glimpse of the elusive Mount Fuji.

It’s important to note that the Japan Rail Pass did not cover the entire leg there. We had to pay about 1000 yen each – but don’t quote me on that, it’s been a while.

We stayed at Hotel Mystays Fuji which we booked through hotels.com. The hotel is relatively new so the rooms and amenities are still in good condition. Unfortunately we did not have the Mt. Fuji view due to lack of availability. The hotel is a 5 minute walk from grocery stores, 100 yen store Seria, and several restaurants.

I have to admit that as much as I b*tch and moan about needing some time alone to relax – I got bored of relaxing. The Mr just can’t win, can he? Sorry, love.

The best views of Mt Fuji happened on the day that we checked out of the hotel – go figure. BUT WE GOT TO SEE MT FUJI! We caught our first glimpse when we went to grab coffee down the street. We rushed back to the hotel to go get my camera and took a 700 yen cab ride to the Chureito Pagoda.

Almost 400 grueling steps later, we reach the pagoda.

Chureito Pagoda Mt Fuji

We were too early for the cherry blossoms but the views did not disappoint.

ChureitoPagoda_01Everything about the Chureito Pagoda was serene from the modest temple to the traditional Japanese details.

ChureitoPagoda_02

So thankful I had my male model along for the ride.

ChureitoPagoda_03

We didn’t vlog very much but feel free to take a peek at what we did manage to capture!

Dana-Signature

Advertisements

Robot Restaurant: What you need to know

So many things to do but where to start? That was the challenge we faced as we were coming up with potential agenda items for our upcoming trip to Tokyo. Yes, there were plenty of blogs and recommendations from sites but we wanted reassurance from people we know. Luckily, we discovered that a friend of ours travels to Tokyo for work on occasion so we were in luck. When we asked him what is one of the top things we should do – he mentioned that the Robot Café would definitely give us a unique and interesting experience.

Per his recommendation, we did the following:

  • Booked tickets well in advance of our trip
  • Skipped the addition of meals, as you can probably find better food options
  • Made sure to have “enough” beverages prior to the event

As we got to the Robot Café, we had to check-in and grab our tickets in a building directly across the main entrance. Afterwards, we walked into a waiting lounge area where we could grab drinks and enjoy some random shows while waiting. 10-15 minutes before show time, we were told we can head to our seats. We walked down a number of steps, saw a “special” room, made it to our seats, got more drinks, and then the show started.

I’m not even sure where to go from here…all I can say to describe the experience is “What happened”? You’ll just have to check it out yourself to get that experience. Definitely a must if you want to check out the crazy, animated, out-there culture you can only find in Japan!!!

Robot Restaurant

Where is it?
Shinjuku Robot Bldg. B2F, 1-7-1 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku 

Watch the vlog!


d-mr-signature

Trip to Tsukiji Fish Market | Tokyo, Japan

What automatically comes to mind when you hear “fish market”? Narrow stalls, the sound of water hoses, fish carcasses perfectly lined up, delectable food stalls, but more importantly, that smell – you know what I’m talking about. The Tsukiji Fish market was everything you would imagine MINUS that dreaded stench.

Tsukiji Fish Market

We didn’t get up at 4am to witness the auction because I read that you needed someone to bring you in and I didn’t care to wake up that early to be perfectly honest. We arrived around 9am and dove right in. The alleys were crammed with locals and tourists alike. Of course, tourists – myself included, had our phones and cameras out to capture all the excitement. There were stalls upon stalls of dried seafood, fresh seafood and kitchen items – just in case you were missing something to prepare your meal.

To my surprise, there were two indoor fish markets in addition to the outdoor market! I’m assuming this is for temperature control so all the fresh seafood wouldn’t go bad. In true Japanese style, the buildings were spotless and very well maintained.

The best part, obviously, are the food stalls. Fresh seafood prepared right before your eyes, how could you go wrong?! My favorite had to be the scallops on a stick. At roughly $2 a stick, I still wonder why we didn’t go back for seconds or even thirds. Another crowd favorite was the mochi. I didn’t think I’d enjoy mochi that wasn’t filled with ice cream (darn westerner) but I was so wrong.

Tsukiji Fish Market

Next time you are in Tokyo, for the love of all things holy, don’t skip the fish market. You’ll be kicking yourself in the behind if you do! Even if you are not a die-hard sushi diner such as myself, there is still plenty to see – and eat!

Where is it?
Oedo line to Tsukiji-Shijo station, exit A. The closest JR station is Shimbashi station but be prepared for a 15 minute walk. But expect this to change shortly (if it hasn’t already) as the Fish Market will be moving to make way for the 2020 Olympic Stadium!

Watch the vlog:

Dana-Signature

Jetsettin’: Girls Trip to Lisbon, Portugal

BocaDoInfernoPortugal

Several weeks ago, several beauties and I headed over to Lisbon, Portugal to get away from our normal, everyday lives. The husbands, kids, and fiances were left to handle things on their own for a few days. We chose Lisbon due to weather and affordability. Little did we know, this hidden gem would be a trip of a lifetime. I went in assuming we would do a little sightseeing and spend the rest of our time sipping wine at the apartment or at a local restaurant. Nope, we spent almost the entire time exploring all that Lisbon had to offer.

GirlsTripLisbonPortugal

Seems as though we brought the rain with us from Holland and Belgium so we spent the first day on a Greyline tourbus (26 euros for 48 hrs, if you were wondering) taking notes on where we wanted to see once the rain subsided.

On our second day, we headed over the Sao Jorge Castle to soak in the views from the top of the hill. I was a little bummed that the fog was so heavy but it was still pretty cool to see the April 25th bridge peek above the fog. Of course, I managed to do a little shopping. Souvenirs in Portugal are ADORABLE and AFFORDABLE. The combination of the two was dangerous for someone like me.

We ended up cramming a lot in on our last full day. We took the long tour bus ride (~2 hrs) to Boca do Inferno, Jeronimo Monastary, and Belem Tower.

Can I just say the the restaurant right by Boca do Inferno is probably the best seafood I’ve had in a long time…maybe EVER! It was so fresh that they didn’t have to do much of anything to it. I was on cloud nine with every single bite. We never had a mediocre meal in Portugal – and the way to my heart, is food.  I don’t know if it’s because we were so hungry from our long treks, but I’m pretty sure the food was just THAT good. Granted, we ate at restaurants near the monuments which are probably considered tourist traps – but they were still scrumptious.

I didn’t vlog nearly as much as I should have but enjoy what I got!

Dana-Signature

My 30th Birthday Getaway: Venezia

Next up, we have Venezia!

Let me tell you, the minute I stepped out of the train station, I was amazed that I was standing in VENICE. I mean, it’s the world renowned, VENICE! Ok, I think you know I’m in Venice. LOL.

We arrived in the evening so all we had planned was grabbing a quick bite to eat and getting settled into our apartment that we rented through AirBNB. A one way ticket on the vapretto was 7 euros or you can opt for a full day ticket for 20 euros, 30 euros for a 2 day pass and so-on, so-forth.  We only bought a one way ticket to the apartment and walked around most of the time since we stayed in the heart of San Marco.

When I read that you don’t need that much time in Venice, they were pretty spot on. We went to check out the San Marco Basilica, a couple free museums, and the grand canal. There were plenty of alleys to get lost in and countless overpriced restaurants to dine in.

San Marco
San Marco

06_2015_Venice-7

06_2015_Venice-15 06_2015_Venice-22

Of course we had to do the gondola! That’s the whole Venice experience, am I right? We paid 100 euros because I wanted a sunset ride. If you ride before 7pm, it’ll cost you 80 euros. Pricey, I admit.

Amazing Gondola Ride in Venice, Italy
Amazing Gondola Ride in Venice, Italy

Venice is beautiful. It is a postcard city just like I had imagined. If you have the chance to go, DO IT. But let me warn you that you probably won’t need much time there. We probably would’ve been fine with leaving a day early, but at the same time, this forced us to relax a little.

Amazing nighttime pics at the Ponte dell'accademia
Amazing nighttime pics at the Ponte dell’accademia

Vlog? Here you go.

Dana-Signature