In 2016 we were living in Australia and we fell pregnant. I then learnt that my childhood thought of women being at their best as pregnant was not applicable with me, so we decided to leave Australia and head to give birth in good old Finland. When we decided to leave Australia, I said right away that I want to see Japan before we leave. I was 3-months-pregnant so it was a good idea to break our travel in parts. We could rest and enjoy the travel before settling back to Finland. So we made plans to stay a week in New Zealand and a week in Japan. Due to flights being cheaper from Nagoya to Finland and fitted better with our schedule, we decided to land in Tokyo and leave from Nagoya. I was excited to get a small taste of Tokyo and Nagoya.
Before heading to Japan, my boss made sure I’d get good tips on Tokyo. Also my friend had lived there so I asked her what we should do. Mr Merry once again collected all the information together and added his own research to create us an experience: food, shopping, walking and some history, all topped with some animal petting. What we didn’t really take into consideration was that I was about 3 months pregnant. I was fairly poorly, exhausted and the thought of eating made me vomit. So we had to skip some of the most amazing parts of Japan: nature and food. It’s such a shame to admit being in Japan and not really experienced it’s amazing food culture. But like I said in the earlier paragraph: I was a horrible horrible person when pregnant. A lot of sleep (Mr Merry nicknamed me Dame NapALot). In the end there were couple of times when Mr Merry had to face the travel-jealous-me and leave on his own to see things, so I could have my naps.
We were recommended to see animal cafés by my friend who had cat cafés in her dream list for Japan. This I thought would be my thing since I’m a massive animal lover but I definitely didn’t feel comfortable with the concept. We ended up visiting an owl (because it was so random) and a cat petting cafés. It was said to be ‘a café’ but for example with the owls we had a can of drink to take with us after leaving. This was very disappointing, since I had this idea it was first café and after animal petting. But I guess in Japan people need more of the animal petting part than the beverages.
History wise we didn’t have much time. We went through the 金龍山浅草寺 Sensō-ji Buddhist temples and luckily got 3 eager students to tell us around it. This place was absolutely beautiful and had loads of little stalls to buy ornaments and touristy memorabilia. We saw here and there some streets and areas but mainly we really just scratched the surface of what Tokyo is all about. Mr Merry did also plan a day trip to a nice park (that we can’t even remember the name of!!). I happened to be so tired of the uphill walk that I was out of breath, absolutely exhausted and moaning a lot. Pregnancy had really turned me into a sleeping monster and when awake I was miserable. We didn’t take a single photo from this park because I was moaning and we were just bickering. And quickly returned to napping mode. My friend recommended to visit spas but all I could bare myself to do was our hotel bath tub. Unfortunately our Japan trip had a lot of negative memories due to my health state.
What Mr Merry was excited about was the high speed trains and our journey to Nagoya was the time when our train enthusiast really got excited about Japan. The train we took from Tokyo to Nagoya was very comfortable and very fast. I would highly recommend to use trains in Japan. Obviously train enthusiasm didn’t stop there: Mr Merry stumbled on a train museum in Nagoya. We spent a day exploring SCMAGLEV and Railway Park, Japan’s train history and eyeing up super fast trains. Also got to drive a simulator and play with all kinds of train stuff. Not a bad museum to visit (coming from a not-at-all-a-train-girl).
To justify a day in a train museum, Mr Merry found me some orcas (and other sea creatures as seen in the picture) at Port Nagoya Public Aquarium. As a huge orca fan, I love an opportunity to see orcas, but I wouldn’t so highly recommend this place. Check my post about my orca sightings in case you’re interested in finding out more about this place: Orca Encounters
TIPS OF MINE BEFORE AND WHEN TRAVELING IN JAPAN:
1. Learn a bit of the language. At least enough to be able to understand to say ‘Bikku Makku’ for a Big Mag
2. Use public transport. It’s amazingly good in Japan and gets you everywhere.
3. Japanese money (Yen) is a strong currency, so if you know your travel dates, follow currency rates beforehand and change money when the rate is at it’s best.
4. Ask locals for advice. If you have any friends or social media contacts, use them. You’ll get amazing first hand information and locations to visit.
5. Enjoy the food. I guess there’s something for everyone in Japan. But seriously budget to enjoy eating. Yum!
6. Have faith in Japanese people. They are extremely honest and kind people with a culture of no stealing etc. My friend left her purse on an ATM for 6 hours and it was still there with all it’s cards and money when she realised to go back to it. So breath, relax and enjoy.
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