Torii gate at the Hakone Shrine

Hello again everyone! (This is TamTams, by the way. I changed my name for October spooky fun). I know this is my first post in forever but I’ve been a busy bee at work and kinda mostly lurk now. But I’m just bursting to say that my best travel buddy and I are going to Japan next year in the spring!

I’ve been there once before with an ex of mine and it was very stressful and he only ate curries the whole time and I actually left three days early because we got in a fight but whatever. I actually still had a great time even with all that.

Now I’m going with one of my very best lady friends who loves to travel and also loves ALL THE FOOD so I’m excited to actually eat good things and stay in fun places and do fun stuff.

So we’ll be there for a little over a week in mid-March and I was wondering if anyone had gone or if anyone lives there who could give me some insight on fun stuff to do, unique experiences to Japan (we’re planning on staying in a ryokan...somewhere. Probably Hakone) or just fun touristy things. Neither of us is super into the “travel like a local” thing especially in countries where the cultural gulf is so wide. And really especially in Japan where most of the tourists are other Japanese people, the “tourist” spots are frankly incredibly interesting as well because they aren’t aimed at foreign tourists (from what I saw last time they seem to be supremely unconcerned with changing their ways to appeal to Americans-which is a good thing).

We’re missing the cherry blossoms by a few weeks which is fine because we’ve both been to DC’s cherry blossom festival and the last time I was in Japan, I saw a bunch. (I’m only mentioning this because this is everyone’s first question 😊)

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Any and all suggestions are welcome! Tips about traveling around Japan. Tips about what to pack, where to go, what to do. Tips about good phrases to know. You all gave me excellent advice about Washington DC (I LOVE YOUR CITY) so lay on whatever you’ve got about Japan!

Lantern and gardens at the Tofuya-Ukai restaurant in Tokyo