Traveling to Japan & Fulfilling a Dream

Japanese Ramen in Tokyo Japan

Japan: Our First Night in Tokyo

It was my husband’s childhood dream to travel to Japan and he was finally getting to accomplish it.  His interest in video games, computers and all things technology started as a very young child. So this trip was a bucket list trip for him. I was also excited to be traveling to Japan, but I think on this trip his anticipation beat mine.

Here’s a picture of him at the airport waiting for our flight to Tokyo.  He’s just a wee bit excited!

Traveling to Japan waiting at airport

Waiting for our flight to Tokyo

Side Note:

I happen to like airplane food.  Okay, not really the food I guess, but the experience of the food they give you.  Depending on where you travel you are typically served food that is consistent with that area. Since we were traveling to Japan we were given options like miso soup, udon noodles and green tea. When I’m flying I look forward to seeing what mystery meal I will get. I know I’m weird and easily amused, but there you have it!

rice and vegetables on the plane

The chicken option.

plane food

And the beef option.

First Night in Tokyo:

We arrived at our hotel in the Ikebukuro neighborhood of Tokyo at around 8:00 p.m. and after checking in and freshening up, (and learning how to use the toilet) it was nearly 9:00 p.m. by the time we headed out for dinner.  

Buttons on toilet in Tokyo Japan

Fancy controls on our toilet

We don’t normally eat that late, however with our internal clocks still set for Pacific time back home, we decided: Hey, it’s Tokyo, there’s always something open!

So we did a quick Google search to find the nearest restaurants and decided to go to Mutekiya, a ramen shop that was just a short walk from our hotel in Ikebukuro.  Mutekiya got great reviews and this would be our first experience eating authentic Japanese ramen vs those $0.20 packets of dried noodles we were fed for lunch as kids.

Dried Top Ramen Packet

A staple food for both kids and college students.

It took us a little bit to actually find the place, as Google maps was having difficulty getting a lock on our GPS, we weren’t sure if it was due to all the tall buildings, or some other interference.

This is a common issue you might have when traveling, it can also depend on the SIM card or local cell phone service you get when you arrive, we chose to use a data only SIM by DoCoMo, which we purchased at an airport vending machine.  (Another cool thing about Japan, you can buy almost anything from a vending machine!)

Shortly after crossing the street we found the restaurant and also a line that wrapped around the building and up the street!  I couldn’t believe that we were waiting in line at 10:00 at night to eat ramen!

painted ramen bowl in Ikebukuro japan

Painted sign outside restaurant detailing the ramen we would soon eat.

45 minutes later we were seated on two bar stools discovering a new love for ramen.  This is not your store bought ramen!  Wow! The ramen was delicious! The broth was full of flavor, the soft boiled eggs were cooked just right and mine had delicious crispy garlic toppings. It was a great experience and the perfect way to begin our time in Tokyo.

Japanese Ramen in Tokyo Japan

The most delicious bowl of ramen we had ever eaten.

I recommend that you jump right in when you first arrive at your destination. It forces your body to get adjusted to the local time zone. Even if it’s only for a couple of hours before you go back to your hotel and crash.  It sets your trip out on the right foot and the excitement you get from exploring your new surroundings will usually overcome your jet lag – at least for a few hours.

Traveling to Japan opened our eyes up to the country’s varied and delicious cuisines. And although eating a bowl of ramen at almost 11:00 at night was never on my list of to-dos, it turned out to be a great first experience in Tokyo!

Try Something New Today!

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