The Final Few Months in Japan


After deciding to return to the UK, we faced the stark reality that many things we did and places we visited next would be our last as residents of Japan.

While we didn’t compile a ‘bucket list’, we did have a few select things we knew we couldn’t leave without doing one last time.

1. A trip to Mount Fuji.

Not quite where it all began, but certainly an important place for us. In 2014, Dan proposed to me at Mount Fuji, and after we moved to Tokyo in 2018, it become our annual tradition to celebrate our wedding anniversary there.

2. Karaoke.

Nuff said?

3. At least a weekly visit to my favourite zen cafe in Kokubunji.

I found this place when hunting for fresh vegetables. While on a walk exploring our neighbourhood, I discovered a local shrine with a spring water river flowing through it. At the side of the shrine was a small farm offering a variety of seasonal and fresh vegetables. Nearby, I discovered the cafe. From this cafe, I did all of my best work, spent many hours editing and revising my articles, and applied for PhD positions. It was a wonderful little place where I felt very zen!

4. Eat Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a noodle, cabbage, and egg combination served with various sauces. It has different varieties throughout Japan. When we lived in Shimonseki, we enjoyed eating this delicious food regularly. The best bit was that most Okonomiyaki restaurants get you to create your own ‘pancake’.  So, we knew we had to do this one more time! YUM.

5. Visit Okinawa

I fondly remember Okinawa being the first trip we took when living in Japan. I also enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing solo trip just before my Master’s started. So it seemed fitting to bookmark our time in Japan by relaxing in Okinawa together again.

6. Cherry blossom viewing

We were so lucky during our time in Japan to see some incredible cherry blossom seasons. There is a lot of hype about Japan and its blossom viewing. The hype is on-point! The cherry blossoms in Japan are well worth trying to see at least once. Luckily for us, we got to see them six times!

7. Kaiten sushi

The infamous conveyor belt sushi! We discovered a new one that also delivered beer on the conveyor. Can you imagine our delight?! Not only do we get to eat delicious fresh fish and quench our thirst on complimentary matcha tea, but we also get beer delivered to our table without speaking to anyone?! Winner.

8. Train spotting in Tokyo

Since moving to Tokyo, we had intended to enjoy some of the amazing train lines that the city is famous for. Commuting on the trains is one thing, but stepping back and exploring more of the history, routes, and wonderful crisscrossing tracks is another. We let out our inner (and possibly outer) train geeks with a day out in Tokyo.

9. Hoshino Coffee souffle

One of my favourite chain coffee shops in Japan that offered not only fresh drip coffee but also the BEST souffle. Souffle in a coffee shop is pretty unusual, so we managed to get a few of these in before leaving!

While leaving Japan was like saying goodbye to an old friend, we didn’t leave wishing we had done more of this and that. Instead, we used our last few months to soak up the things we loved most about living there. Nothing too fancy, just the daily life we had spent six years loving.

Now, onto the next adventure: The Ireland Chapter. More on that soon…

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