This sub was tremendously helpful during my planning for this trip, and I also enjoy all the trip reports, so I thought I'd pay back by reporting ours. Sorry for the wall of text and I tend to ramble on a bit :S **Background** \- Late 20s couple \- First trip to Japan \- Asians living in Australia \- Old school anime and manga fans \- Like low key stuff, hate touristy stuff, avoid the crowd as much as possible \- Our travel style is very much "go with the flow" and "see how it goes", so very slow-paced. We visited 2-3 attractions a day at most, and some days we just walked around the neighborhood and chilled. \- We also travel one-bag style, and it's saved us a lot of time, space, and inconvenience. I brought along a collapsible duffel bag to carry any souvenir on our way back. **Photos** Food album [https://imgur.com/gallery/Keyi63J](https://imgur.com/gallery/Keyi63J) Other stuff album [https://imgur.com/gallery/Cs1jMLH](https://imgur.com/gallery/Cs1jMLH) **Stay** Osaka and Kyoto: airbnb Hakone: Japan Countryside and Hakone Airu Tokyo: Brilliant studio (from Booking) **Notes** * A lot of people told us to get JRPass for its convenience, but I did the math and it would only be worth it if we travel long-distanced return trips, ie Tokyo to Osaka and back to Tokyo. Because our trip was one-way, I opted for just a icoca pass, and it's saved us around $200, and we had no trouble with transportation. * Strong Zero is the shit. * Drinking culture in Japan is shocking, and sad * Suicides by train every single day we were there. My Tokyo friend said it's gotten to a point where it's become a nuisance to everyone else. Very sad. * Japanese are very polite and nice. Nearly everyone we met tried their best to help us, even with the language barrier. * You definitely don't need to speak or know Japanese to travel in Japan, but it would help. A lot of times I wished I knew Japanese so I could chat with the local people or owners of local restaurants and ask about their life. * Google Maps was our friend. * We were addicted with konbini rice balls. They were simple, yet so good and filling. * Have been using the knives we got and I can say it is one of our best investments yet. They cut like a dream. 10/10 would buy again **Friday 22.03 - Saturday 23.03** * We got to Osaka at around 3 and oh my god, the lines at custom were crazy long. Must be tourist season because of the cherry blossom blooming. Took us an hour to get through everything, then we went and pick up our portable wireless, then had to queue up again to get icoca cards and rapi:t train to Namba. * We got on the train at 5.05, and got to Namba at around 5.45. It was so much colder than I thought, around 7-10 degrees. The walk to our airbnb was rough as the wind didn’t help with the cold. We arrived at around 6 eventually. Our airbnb is a studio apartment which has everything we needed - microwave, fridge, aircon, heater, hairdryer, and washing machine. Partner said he felt a bit sick from the long travel, so I left him sleeping and went to get food at FamilyMart which was 90m away. * The FamilyMart, while not 7/11, was everything I thought it’d be! The food selection is so good! They even have a full-on alcohol section with proper wine and whiskey. I spent around $40 buying a lot of food and snacks for the next 3 days we’re staying. The cashier spoke no English and I couldn’t understand a thing he said, but we communicated somehow - mostly guessing on my part. Amazing what human can do even in the lack of a common language! They didn’t even need ID for the Strong Zero I bought. He showed me a screen which asked something like are you over 20, and I was supposed to press the button. Took me some seconds to understand what I had to do lol. * Got partner a pork bun which made him feel better, and I ate a fried chicken bento box, which was ok. I then tried dango - and it was shit. All the manga and anime had been lying to me!!!!!! So much disappointment… The huge choux was so good though! Their chips were ok, although slightly more expensive than their other stuff. * Strong Zero is the shit! I got drunk after 2 big cans - and I’m pretty heavy weight. Maybe because I’ve been abstaining from alcohol for 3 months though, but I pretty much passed out afterwards. Partner said I did some hilarious stuff while I was drunk, and I could only remember it vaguely in the morning. * The airbnb guy visited briefly to give us a portable wifi when I asked about it on airbnb. Nice! So we have 2 now to switch back and forth, and in the case of us splitting as well. **Sunday 24.03** * We started the day with FamilyMart food. partner didn’t like his mapo tofu :( My tonkatsu (I think) bento was alright. We then headed to Osaka Aquarium. We opted for the Kaiyukan + Giant Ferris Wheel tickets for 3,000 yen per person. * partner seemed very happy at the aquarium - which I am glad for. I myself can’t remember the last time I’ve visited such a big aquarium before, and a very organized and well-designed one at that too. Everything was well thought out and meticulously planned and executed. It was amazing. * I got tired around ⅔ way so we took a break at a cafe inside. partner was hungry as he didn’t eat much of his mapo tofu, so he had a hot dog, and I tried the fish cake sandwich. The food was overpriced imo but we were hungry so we had no complaint. The ice cream though were really good and creamy. They melted really slow in a fairly warm room - meaning there were little ice in it. Actual proper ice cream! * We continued our walk through the aquarium, and I bought 2 little white seal bean bags at the souvenir shop. Everything was super fucking cute like holy fuck Japan really knows how to make you fork out your money for cuteness!!!!! The extra bean bag is for my co-worker who I know likes to play with bean bags at her desk when she’s bored. I hope she’ll like it. * We headed to the Ferris Wheel, and lined up for about 30 minutes to get in… It was a fairly nice experience, but long wait kinda diminished our excitement. Can’t be helped as it was a Sunday though. * Our ride finished and we went to the FamilyMart downstairs for me to get coffee and a rice ball to snack on. Also got a lip balm as my lips have been cracking up in this cold weather. * Afterwards, we walked towards the park nearby which had a few cherry blossom trees blooming as we saw them from the ferris wheel. Cherry blossoms really are beautiful, although I suspect it’d look even better when all the trees are blooming. * We were fairly tired at this point so we went back to our airbnb. I wanted to take a stroll through Dotonburi for dinner, but my partner got a bit sick from barely eating anything all day (apart from the hot dog) and not being used to the cold weather, so we stayed in. I ordered UberEats and we had okonomiyaki and beef from a nearby shop. They were soooooo gooooooddddddddddd, even when not having it right as they made it. I don’t like beef and I thought the beef was good! My partner felt better after having food, so we took a walk around the area. I got to visit a 7/11 and had one item on my bucket list ticked off (I know. I’m a simple person). I bought all the stuff I’d wanted to try from watching Japan video logs and trip reports, and they mostly tasted how I thought they would. * The rest of the night was just us chilling and Netflix-ing with snacks and alcohol (for me cause partner doesn’t drink lol). I fell asleep buzzy like last night. **Monday 25.03** Our full last day in Osaka. * We walked to Kuromon Market for breakfast/lunch, but got sidetracked on the way by a game arcade. Seeing all the game types there was an experience, for sure. We were amazed by how well made they were all are, and how on trend they were lol. Partner tried a grabbing machine but failed, then we tried a fortune telling machine. Partner got neutral luck, I got little luck lol. * We eventually got to Kuromon. It was fun although smaller than I thought. The seafood was very fresh though - had the best sashimi and giant oyster there by far. The stalls/food did get repetitive after a while. We also tried a crab stick + beef stick combo. The crab stick was just your regular crab stick but grilled and doused in their sauce which gave it a nice smoky flavour. The beef was good but I woudn’t eat more than 1 skewer. * After the market, we headed towards Sakai for Jikko Cutlery. We didn’t meet the owner there who previous visitors said spoke fluent English. The guy who served us spoke little English but we communicated somehow and chose our knives. One reviewer said she got free engraving, so we asked for it but they said they didn’t offer that, so maybe she got a special deal since she met the owner? Their workshop was right downstairs if you wanted to see how they work. * We then headed towards Kobe. The restaurant I wanted to try didn’t open til 5 so we waited at a coffee shop to pass the time. Once we got there however, they were fully booked for the night :( I didn’t see any booking page on their website so I thought we could just walk in, but I should have called beforehand in hindsight. We opted for our second choice a few minutes away. Tl;dr Kobe beef was good to try for the experience, but we felt it was heavily overpriced and not as good as it was hyped up to be. I do wonder if it would have been better if we got our first restaurant choice, but I honestly don’t think it’d be marginally better even. Maybe we got our expectations too high, because a lot of our friends say it was heavenly. Hmm.. to each their own I guess. * We started home after this, disappointed, but I was still gonna visit Dotonburi to cap off the night. However, some family stuff came up, so we stayed in in the end for me to deal with it. I did buy takoyaki and chicken cartilage, along with Suntory whiskey, for a late night snack. A bit of an up and down day overall. **Tuesday 26.03** * We got up, cleaned our stuff to check out of the airbnb, then went to a laundry box right opposite to do our laundry before heading to Kyoto. * The train took us about one hour in total. There was an accident that delayed it - specifically “someone getting hit by the train”. Very surreal and morbid to hear the announcement every few minutes… There seems to be at least 1 suicide by jumping in front of the train every few days, as we got one on our first day in Osaka as well… * In any case, we arrived at Kyoto at around noon. Dropped off our bag at the guesthouse as we couldn’t check in until 3, and took a stroll around. Kyoto is vastly different to Osaka in scenery and lifestyle. It’s much more rural, a lot of wooden houses and old school (pardon me not knowing the exact lingo) architecture. We actually prefer Kyoto scenery to Osaka, as we like quiet places with few people. The cherry blossom had started to bloom, and they looked every bit as beautiful as the hype. However, there is little to do at night in Kyoto, as we later found that day… On our stroll, we went to Shingyokoku and browsed through the shopping district there. We stopped at a small ramen shop that was only big enough for 7 people in total, and had one of the best ramen we’ve had on our trip. We love finding hidden gems like this, rather than big, fancy, famous places that everyone already knows about and seeks out. Full and warm, we headed back to our airbnb, got our room and chilled out. The guesthouse was quite old and musty. I am quite sensitive to dust and cramped places, so I started sneezing and coughing a lot in the room. We quickly got out for fresh air and a night stroll. Which is where we found out there wasn’t much night activity here… I felt a lot better after the walk though, so we got back to the room - which was a lot better since I opened the window to air it out before we left, and relaxed with some more Strong Zero and Netflix before turning in for the night. * Not a very adventurous/productive day, and we got admittably quite bored at the evening point, but possibly since we spend much of the day checking in/out and moving to a new city, compare to our very busy previous 2 days. **Wednesday 27.03 - Friday 29.03** * Exploring Kyoto. We went through Koushien Garden (it was near our place), Fushimi Inari, Kiyozumi-deru, Arashiyama bamboo grove, then a random park near a bus stop where the Kyoto Imperial Palace was? And had a few walks by Nishiki market, Gion district/Pontocho street. * To be honest we were quite disappointed with our stay in Kyoto. All the hyped up places were not that impressive (to us), save Kiyozumi-deru, and the places we actually enjoyed were random finds on our walks. Probably because we hate crowds and tourist traps, and most of the places felt that way. * My neck and shoulder started hurting a lot after my first night in Kyoto, which I thought was from me sleeping weird somehow, and kept hurting all through our Kyoto stay which, no matter how much I tried to endure it, lessened my enthusiasm to explore a bit. However, as it immediately got better when we moved to a new place, I suspect it’s from sleeping on the futons… which is weird because I grew up sleeping on bamboo mats, and still enjoy doing so, with no pillow. Still a mystery to me. **Saturday 30.3** * We cleaned out, did laundry in a laundry box place. I got breakfast at our usual FamilyMart while partner did some emergency debugging (working for a startup life). It started raining on and off but we luckily walked to the station in the short time it stopped. We paid for our Shinkansen tickets - it was an interesting experience, although we were too tired/lazy to get some ekiben like I planned beforehand. * Riding the shinkansen was cool, but my partner said it gave him a headache. Weird since I’m usually the one who gets carsick. We arrived at Odawara Station and luckily caught the Romance car to Hakone in time, instead of getting the bus like I planned to. * Got to Hakone-Yumoto, then took the bus to our hostel. Hakone was so so SO beautiful! The cherry blossoms were almost in full bloom. Combine that with the waterfalls and hills and mountains, and we couldn’t keep our hands off our phones for pictures. The bus ride to our hostel was… curvy, for lack of a better word. I got to see a lot of the scenic views sitting by the window and was fairly happy, while my partner was still recovering from the train ride. * We got to our hostel which was conveniently right across a bus stop. It was a small hostel which I think had about 4 rooms in total, but it was amazingly cozy. The host was very kind and did everything to make us comfortable, and we loved all her little touches around the house and to our service. Her place had an old school/vintage feel to it and I liked that. We had a short rest, then got outside to buy dinner at the 7/11 10 minutes away. It was pouring rain, but the walk felt so nice and romantic (to us at least lol). We got back, heated things up, ate to our heart’s content, then went to bed. **Sunday 31.03** * After a good night sleep, we got up and enjoyed the free breakfast that was provided. It was simple but arranged so nicely with care - which surprised us to our delight. We packed up, left our luggage at the hostel, walked around the area a bit, took in the beautiful scenery, then went back. We were so happy I drew a small note for the owner to thank her, and she seemed to really like it :) * We took the bus back to town, and walked to our ryokan. As we got there early, we left our luggage to be carried to our room and explored the area a bit as we didn’t have time to yesterday. The weather was beautiful, and the cherry blossoms looked even more better under the sun. There was an area where you could go near the river under the bridge, so we chilled out there for a bit. We took tons of photos both there and on the way to and back. * (I actually forgot my ekiben bought in Kyoto at the hostel :( Thought I was gonna save it as I was craving curry the night before and didn’t eat my ekiben. Joke on me :( ) * At around 3, we got back to our ryokan and checked in. Drank our complimentary drinks - partner got coffee and I got champaign (delicious!), then got shown to the facilities and our room. It was everything I’d hoped for!! The private onsen in our room was so good I basically melted in there. It was a clear day and we got a good view of the mountains, sky and cherry blossom trees. We spent the next hours just soaking and indulging until they called us for dinner. The dinner. It was definitely something else. Almost everything was 8-9/10. We had the best sashimi of our life - I still feel like crying remembering it now… Their western dishes weren’t on par with their Japanese/Eastern dishes though, I felt like they tried to put those in to cater for Western visitors - or maybe I’m just biased cause I’m Asian lol. * We got back to our room, and lazed around some more as our beds were made during our dinner. We soaked in the onsen a few more times, drank some beer (me) and yoghurt drink (partner lol), chewed some 7/11 snacks, then dozed off. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip. **Monday 01.04** * We had the ryokan breakfast which was also amazing, then came back to our room and started packing. I took one last short dip to say goodbye to our onsen ;( A bit bummed we didn’t try out their public baths, but still worth every cent. * We left our luggage at the ryokan to walk around town a bit. We bought some asagiri wasabi as we tried some yesterday and really liked it. Hakone was so nice we wished we could have stayed another day :( The moving part took so much of our time. We would have liked a ride on the ropeway. Oh well. * We walked back to the ryokan to get our bags and started towards the station for Tokyo. We got on the Romance car but I didn’t realize we had to buy tickets for the limited express in addition to our icoca cards, as we didn’t have to on the Romance car from Odawara to Hakone - but maybe they just didn’t check our tickets on that ride. Hmm... Luckily the conductor sold us a pair on the train anyway. * We got to Ikebukuro Station and walked back to the studio I rented for Tokyo. There was a minor incident where our room key that was supposed to be in the mailbox wasn’t there. The room cleaner was there and was confused as well, he ran around trying to contact the host, while I got in touch with them via emails. We eventually got the key after a while, and left our bags in the room while it was getting cleaned to have a walk around the neighborhood. * Our studio was actually in a quieter side of Ikebukuro, as there weren’t many shops or attractions around. We did find a supermarket, Lawson and FamilyMart close by though. We thought konbini stuff were cheap, but supermarkets had them even cheaper lol. There was a small park and temple nearby that we took a delightful stroll through. We got back to our studio and chilled for the night. Tokyo was much colder than I thought, and it showered a bit at night too which brought the temperature to 2 degrees. **Tuesday 02.04** * I had a nightmare/lucid dream? the first night at the studio, where I saw an old woman standing over me next to the bed, grinning… I froze up in fear and rolled over to my partner’s side, who was up and in the bathroom… I slept on and off throughout the night because of that and felt a bit groggy in the morning. * Anyways, we visited Denny’s for breakfast as I wanted to check out how the Japanese do western food. I got a bolognese which was surprisingly nice, while my partner got tonkatsu curry which was a miss. The sauce and tonkatsu were both too fatty/heavy. * I wanted to check out Don Quijote while my partner wanted to sleep in some more, so we split ways from here. DonQ is amazing!!! I got all my skincare shopping done here, and most of our souvenir shopping as well. Japanese skincare is so cheap here compare to buying online - which is no wonder since they have to factor in the shipping fee :( so I made sure to stock up on all the masks and lotions. I also got a bag of frozen fried rice and a tray of marinated pork belly to cook for my partner who didn’t eat much of his Denny’s meal. * I walked home after spending about 2 hours at DonQ (lol), cooked up the food for my partner, then we rested for a bit before heading down to town. I booked us both for teamlab Borderless, which was about more than 1 hour of train away. We got there at around 4, and the line was still fcking long… And it was a Tuesday… Maybe everyone got the same idea of avoiding the weekend crowd. Queueing up took us about an hour more before finally getting inside. * Teamlab Borderless was… a bit disappointing for me, maybe because I did a lot of research beforehand and was expecting a lot more, but my partner thoroughly enjoyed it, not knowing anything before going in. The crowd didn’t help either :/ We still had some good time, and seeing my partner happy made me content too. * We missed one room (the floating one) cause the line was too long and it was near closing time. We spent about 2.5 hours there - I vastly underestimated the crowd when I thought we could get it done in 2 hours… Anyway, we spent another half hour trying to find our way out of the building and back to the station lol. It was like a maze in there by itself! * We got on the train to Shinjuku to meet up with one of my close friends who lives in Tokyo. It was so nice meeting her! (It was also my partner and her first time meeting each other since we got married too lol) She took us to Torikizoku as I’d been craving meat and veggies, and it did not disappoint! Highly recommended yakitori chain. Prices are reasonable, food is great, and very few foreigners. * We walked through Kabukicho a bit to look through stuff, then walked over to Golden Gai into a small bar which seated 3-5 people each floor and the bartender got to each floor through a small hole in the floor. It was so cozy and chill. So nice having a local walk you through stuff and introducing/explaining things :) Bonus point for a friend reunion too! * Told friend about my nightmare and she said I probably saw a Japanese ghost :| Okay...... * She took us back to the station and saw us off - not without a bunch of recommendations for our next days too lol. We went home full, buzzy, and happy. **Wednesday 03.04** * I started the day pretty early at around 7, did the laundry and cleaned up a bit. * We lazed around pretty much all morning and afternoon, and didn’t leave until 4 lol. Our first visit was to Cat Cafe Mocha which was my friend’s recommendation. The cafe was very nicely established and decorated. Cats were very respected and the limitless free drinks were a nice bonus. This visit made me miss my cat at home so much more :( * Anyway, we left for Shinjuku. My partner got hungry so we visited another Torikizoku (lol found one of our new favourite chains). I tried a something sour that tasted like whiskey and beer mixed together. It was strong, but the taste was bleh for me so I ended up ditching it after 3 sips. * We got to Sekaido for me to do my art supplies shopping. If you’re an artist, SEKAIDO. HAS. EVERYTHING. Literally. Everything. I wanted to buy every book there Y\_Y But had to focus!!! I bought my fountain pens and inks and paper after gawking and crying tears of happiness for 2 hours (props to my partner for tagging along and listening to me crying over artbooks and art supplies lol). * We left Sekaido with me on cloud 9 lol, and headed towards Taito Game Station. It’s always been our dream to spend a night playing to our heart’s content at a game arcade, so we did just that. Failed miserably at UFO Catcher with the Card Captor Sakura figurine :( So much admiration for the pro people walking around with heaps of prizes winning every machine! But we won the gold jackpot at this machine where you push tokens in and win slots (still little idea how the game actually works lol). People around actually started filming/taking photos of us lol. Although we later found out the tokens can’t be exchanged back into real money, which was a bum… * We started back to the station, still pumped from the win… until I realized we left my Sekaido bag at the arcade <\_< We raced back and fortunately the staff had it! We walked back to the station (again) to catch the midnight train (literally) back to Ikebukuro. * We got a bit hungry so walked to Lawson at 1AM for some night food and also bought stuff for the next morning/lunch. If we had to rate, this day/night was probably one of the best nights of our entire trip. **Thursday 04.04** * We started the day heading towards Nakano Broadway. It was… partly disappointing imo. It did have a lot of cool old-school stuff, but the majority were overpriced (6,000 yen for a tiny Kurapika figurine the size of my finger? And it wasn’t even that well-made. No thanks.) The bookstores had collections of old school manga which were a blast to flick through. These were reasonably price, but since we can’t read Japanese, we didn’t see a point in buying one anyway. I wish I could read Japanese to buy the light novels and not popular mangas that don’t get scanlated/translated though :( We found a shop selling Gundam figurines that were surprisingly cheap for the quality. Ended up buying a few HxH postcards, and I tried a Sailor Moon gashapon. Didn’t get the one I wanted but it was good fun nevertheless. * We stopped at a yakitori shop at the outer market area. Can’t remember exactly what we ordered but I got some sort of beer (again). My partner got a Calpis sour, which turned out to be Calpis mixed with some sort of alcohol - I’m guessing the sour beer type. It tasted… very weird… and not in a good way… My partner can’t handle alcohol very well though so I got him a tea instead and drank the Calpis sour for him. My Tokyo friend said Japanese really like their alcohol sour, like the Strong Zero taste. I looked it up and they call it chuhai. The food was nice, though the portion was on the smaller size, but for 80 yen a skewer that is pretty good. They didn’t have unlimited free cabbages like Torikizoku though :( We ended up paying about the same amount as with our Torikizoku runs. * There was a shop that let you pick out your own dishes and pay for their weight. We took a little of almost every dish, and a lot of their veggies! However when we finally sat down at our studio and ate them, my partner thought the food was bad, and I thought they were mediocre. So, a miss. * Browsing through Nakano took longer than I’d expected, so we didn’t have time to go to Ueno/Ayamekocho/Yanaka before dark as planned. We spent about 5-6 hours in total in the Nakano Broadway, so we went back to our studio and took an early break for the day. * We experienced the train during rush hour on the way back. Literally packed like sardines. It was an interesting experience for sure, though not one I’d look forward to having again lol. * I spent the night sorting out the plan for our last day/hours, as our flight was at 6.30 am, and there was no train to the airport until 5. Taxi was out of the question since it cost more than 10,000 yen. I found out the airport limousine early morning/late night service which had a run from 3.35 from Ikebukuro Station that arrived at 4.25, giving us about 2 hours to check in and go through security check. So I booked 2 seats and we started packing. **Friday 05.04** * It was our last day, and since we had to leave early next morning, our plan was to head home early and get some sleep in before leaving. * Our last spot was the Tsukiji fish market, as we absolutely adore fresh seafood. The sushi were indeed very fresh, and we sat down for a kaisendon at a place in the outer market area, as the inner was too crowded, and seemingly overpriced, for us. The food was very nice, although the shrimps were nowhere near as good as the one I had at the Hakone ryokan. We later saw the chefs pulling the shrimps from bowls of ice though, so they’re not fresh-fresh, which explained why. It was overall nice, nevertheless, and our seafood crave was fully satisfied. * I got another gashapon with a hat for cats lol. If I lived in Japan I’d probably spend a lot of money on these, as my partner had to stop me from exchanging our last notes for coins to play them lol. * We got back to Ikebukuro area, and walked around a bit, both people watching and also with the intention to check out the bus stop area for our airport limousine (as there was no label on Google map, the website only gave the gps coordinations, and I’m a worry-wart). It was reasonably close enough to walk from our studio, but with the amount of souvenirs we were bringing back (turned out to be nearly 20kg), I was worried it would be too heavy for us to trudge through, so I started looking up alternatives. Uber isn’t very popular in Japan, and I worried there wouldn’t be any at the hour we were leaving, so I looked things up and downloaded Didi, which seemed to have more cars with a quicker search time, and hoped for the best. * At this point my partner wanted to go home to check out a bathhouse near our place, while I wanted to get a massage, so we split and I took the portable wifi with me as he remembered the way back. My first go-to at SBC Massage didn’t accept walk-in, so I found another place, more expensive, but accepted walk-in, called Relala. The place was tucked up on the 4th floor of a small building, and the staff were a bit flustered as I walked in. They probably rarely get non-Japanese-speaking clients, and the menu was all in Japanese so I had no idea what my options were. One staff luckily spoke a little English and we communicated successfully. I got a one-hour whole body massage. * There was an embarrassing situation where the staff member treating me left me in the room and I started taking off my clothes - as I was used to in going to western and Vietnamese and Thai massages. The staff came back and was startled to find me almost naked, and explained that they did massages with clothes on here lol. I should have asked beforehand. Anyway, the massage was good, it was a bit strange since I was used to having skin contact in massages, but I got used to it after a while and fell asleep halfway through. If you read through everything, maybe you’d remember that I started getting neck and shoulder pain in Kyoto. That never did go away fully, so I told the masseuse that and she took extra time in the area, which felt amazing and I do believe helped relieve my pain. * We had some small talk afterwards, and she was delighted to know where I’m from, saying welcome to Japan - although it was my last day haha. I got a complimentary tea in a cardboard box afterwards, and thanked them for their amazing service. I started walking home, to find a bunch of missed calls and worried messages from my partner. Turned out because I tried calling him earlier to let him know my first go-to massage place didn’t accept walk-in (but he didn’t pick up as he didn’t have internet on the way back), and I would take a while more, he was worried something happened, or I’d gotten lost somewhere (I get lost very easily like you wouldn’t believe, which was why he gave me the wifi everytime we split). He was actually too worried that he ended up just staying at the studio the entire time, waiting to hear from me lol. Made me aww, and a bit guilty. * So I headed home, we packed, showered and soaked in the tub one last time, had our last full Japanese dinner, (I was craving for my last bowl of ramen, so I ordered one from UberEats which was surprisingly nice) and tried to get in some last few hours of sleep. **Saturday dawn 06.04** * We left at around 2.15. I called for a Didi car to get to the bus stop, and it took about 2 minutes to find one - I was lowkey panicking inside. There was a tiny hiccup at the end of our ride where the app didn’t let the driver end the ride and get the total amount for some reason. It turned out quite reasonable though - \~1,000 for a 15-minute ride, or maybe they had a special promotion for your first rides like Uber does? Anyway, there were a bunch of other people waiting at the bus stop, so I left my partner there to go buy some drink and a quick breakfast at DonQ. They didn’t have onigiri though o\_O that shocked me, as I thought DonQ had everything lol. I opted for an Aquarius bottle (tasted exactly like Pocari sweat - my partner’s obsessed with it), an energy bar, and some candies. We mostly needed to exchange our 5,000 yen note into 1,000 yen notes to pay for the limousine. * The bus arrived exactly on time, although only 1 other person and we got on from the line waiting at the bus stop - which confused the hell out of me and I had to check twice if we were getting on the right bus. Still no idea what the other people were waiting for, hmm… Don’t think we needed to book beforehand though, as it was almost empty and the driver didn’t even ask for our reservation number. Maybe it was for people getting on at Shinjuku, as there were a lot more there and they didn’t have to pay the fee to the driver. * We got to the airport right on time, went through check in and security - because it was early, only one security check was open so it took us an hour to get through everything, with 5 minutes to spare before we had to board. I got some last minute dry squid snack from a vending machine inside the boarding lounge, which turned out so nice my partner wanted seconds. **Conclusion** We were both melancholy these last few days, having our last moments of Japan. We didn’t think we would revisit Japan before our trip, but now, if we have another chance, we definitely will. But with experience from this trip, we will visit lesser known places next time. As I am typing these last lines, waiting for our transit at HongKong airport, I am missing Japan already :( I feel a special connection to Japan, the same way I do to New Zealand where I spent 10 years of my adolescent life. Goodbye, quirky land of sakura, konbini food, bathhouse, and anime/manga. May we meet again someday.