Japan.... 4 years later

It's been 4 years since I've been to Japan...! We've been planning this trip for a while, so R could meet my family + leave the country for the first time... but now we get to share our engagement with them too! We did so many things during our short visit.... I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Kimono Wedding Scaled_1024.jpg

Because my mom wouldn't be able to make it out for the wedding, she requested a photoshoot of us dressed in traditional Japanese wedding garb.

IMG_0364_1024.jpg

We were treated to some Kobe Beef... sukiyaki style. BEST. DINNER. EVER.

IMG_9972_1024.jpg

Sashimi, of course.

IMG_0211_1024.jpg

We got to go to Himeji Castle, which was closed for re-finishing while I had been living there in 12-13 - so gorgeous! Himeji castle is still original construction with two huge columns holding the whole thing up. No nails, no glue - just wood joinery!

My uncle also spent a day with us in Nara and Osaka... took us to a few world heritage sites, and then we ended up at Osaka castle also. He's not so great at taking selfies... Osaka castle isn't original anymore, because it burned down - but it's a museum now with the history of it. We didn't go in because of the intense amount of people, but we found this cool stone in the wall that was HUGE!

IMG_0500_1024.jpg

We also took a boat down the river in Kyoto at Arashiyama. The guys running the boat only used a rudder and a giant bamboo pole to navigate the whole thing!

IMG_0326_1024.jpg

We also went to Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto - one of my favorites! Sadly, the cherry blossoms hadn't bloomed yet, so it mostly looked like a winter mountainside...

IMG_0431_1024.jpg

We took Richie to Universal Studios on his birthday. My sister knew some crazy secret about getting a birthday sticker, and the entire time we were there, staff would say "Happy Birthday!" and high five him. We also found a little kiosk making custom Coke bottles and got one for him as a keepsake.

IMG_0435_1024.jpg

Richie wanted to ride a super scary roller coaster and my sister and I weren't brave enough, so while Richie was doing that, we got tickets to the Harry Potter theme park, and goofed around with some of the gift kiosks.

IMG_0424_1024.jpg

Harry Potter.... Butterbeer... the only thing off was that everything was in Japanese and the voices didn't match -.-

IMG_0524_1024.jpg

Because everyone was so wonderful to us while we were there, we wanted to get a little treat to share with them on our last night there. My moms birthday was in January, my aunts in march, Richie's in early April, and my sisters in late April... so we turned it into a birthday cake!

It was an amazing trip, and we're already making lists of things that we want to do when we go back. I certainly won't be waiting 4 years to go back again, that was much too difficult to not see my family for so long. Just my sister went from an annoying teenager to a pretty great young adult in that time!