Japan: What we Wore in the Fall

Ok, so what did we pack for 16 days in Japan? The 16 days were spread across Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Okinawa in October. The first 3 cities: average 56-73 degrees during the month of October. Okinawa? The stats say 72-81 during October but … it’s a HOT 81 degrees. High humidity and unrelenting sun make it unbearably warm during the day, if you are out and about trying to see as much as you possibly can. Which is kind of our thing.

So we had to pack for pleasant tourist weather and also a few days of seriously hot and humid weather.

First up: the husband packed every single item of clothing he owns into a bag.

But for me, I spent a long time putting together the perfect trip wardrobe. This list is based off of memory, photographs, and my packing list. I wish I had taken pictures of myself every day, but, alas, I didn’t. So this is close-ish:

Bottoms:
2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of Eddie Bauer travel pants
1 skirt/swimsuit coverup

Tops:
1 blouse
3 3/4 sleeve shirts
5 t-shirts
1 hand-knitted sweater (that required a t-shirt underneath)

Shoes:
Flip-flops (Clarks: so super comfy)
Casual ballet flats + Gekks inside (Clarks again: super comfy)
Ankle boots (Earth: again, super comfy, great support)

Outer:
Hat
Eddie Bauer windbreaker
Multi-way cardigan (Love, love, love this thing)
Travel scarf/dress (Have not yet gone on a trip where I’ve made serious use of it; but I love the multi-use idea of it – I do LOVE this for wearing on the plane, it makes a great wearable blanket, that you can quickly turn into an infinity scarf or cardigan)

Other:
Bathing Suit
Yoga pants (for lounging around the hotels)
Jewelry
Purse (Love, love, love this bag! I love Baggallini bags for their practicality, but this one might be my favorite. This isn’t my favorite color, but I like it well enough: I jump on their site every couple of months to see if they’ve added something more my speed. But still: 8 months later, this is STILL the bag I am using.)

Pinterest Board

  • Ravelry: akaemi's Pacific Smoke
  • Baggalini purse
  • Women's Guide Pro Pants | Eddie Bauer
  • Half-sleeve tee
  • Breathe slub roll-sleeve tee
  • GapFit Breathe roll sleeve tee
  • shoes
  • Jeans
  • Women's Sandstone Soft Shell Jacket | Eddie Bauer

Kyoto with Gate 1: Day Two

We had the morning to ourselves in Kyoto, so I looked on the google maps and found us some options. Within walking distance: the Kyoto aquarium! And so off we went. On Health and Sports day? Which is a holiday. So all the locals were out and about too!

We started off with the Dolphin show, La La Fin Circus? Turns out, if you don’t understand the language, the dolphin show is less enjoyable. It was mostly just hoping it was finally time for something exciting to happen. There’s a lot of down time in dolphin shows, turns out. So: while I do love dolphin shows, I’d say you’d be ok to skip this one if you don’t understand Japanese.

The rest of the aquarium is pretty charming. I wouldn’t say this aquarium is a must-see, but if you’ve got a free morning and you’ve seen all the shrines and temples your brain can hold, it’s a nice change of pace.

Lunch back at the hotel, with sodas we’d picked up on our adventures. Japan is all about seasonal flavors: if you are there in the fall, pick up some White Peach Fanta and Apple Coke. The best sodas we tried on our trip.

The afternoon was a visit to … a temple! Bet you didn’t see that coming! But this one: this one was surrounded by deer! And also houses the largest bronze Buddha in the world.

Outside the temple is Nara park, home to, oh, about a gazillion deer. Who all love to eat crackers that you can buy. Oh, and they know when someone buys crackers, they will swarm until you’ve given up the goods.

This guy knew I didn’t have any crackers

Also, this picture just cracks me up: I’m pretty sure someone in the group was doing something stupid:

But then, we were inside with the giant Buddha! Daibutsu, in the Todai-ji temple. It is something to behold.

This is definitely worth a stop. I know I said we were all templed out, but this one is on whole different scale. There are little windows in the top of the building that they open … once a year? And the Buddha peeks through them.

The Buddha shutters: that is where his eyes are!

Next stop, some absolutely stunning Japanese gardens. Our tour was supposed to do something else, but it happened to be closed for renovations or something … and so we went to these gardens instead. I’m actually glad whatever it was got cancelled, these gardens were beautiful and peaceful.

We had a farewell dinner with our group that evening at the hotel, and thus ended part one of our trip.

Kyoto with Gate 1: Day One

Beautiful blue skies after Hagibis

The day dawned bright and clear! It was a shame we couldn’t stick around Osaka for another day, but, alas, we had to get on the bus and head to Kyoto.

First up: another temple! The Kiyomizu temple, to be exact. Gorgeous temple with amazing grounds. And the water: there is a waterfall with three streams of water. Legend says you can pick one to drink from: long life, success at school, or success in love. We opted out of it because it seemed unsanitary, but after we passed by we saw that all the ladles come from a UV-light bathed bin, so they had that covered!

Next up was a tea ceremony, where we all watched a tea master prepare tea … and then we all had a chance to make some ourselves! The husband made a perfectly frothy cup of tea, while the rest of us looked on, sad at the state of affairs in our own cups.

At the shop attached to the tea ceremony stop, I picked up a book on furoshiki that the husband noticed. Katy had given us a demonstration on the bus and it. was. magical. I’m all about the origami, but furoshiki is a whole ‘nother level. It involves fabric, and you use folding and knots to turn it into a bag, or a bottle carrier, or a neat little book parcel, or gift wrap.

Lunch time took us to a street of shopping! Where I picked up some gorgeous furoshiki … scarves? Fabrics? And also a conbini lunch, where the guy behind the counter microwaved it for me! Seaweed-wrapped rice balls, half a medium-boiled egg, katsu, there was more in there that I can’t remember. It was all delicious, is what do I remember.

Next up, the Kitano Shrine, which was full of cows (bulls?) in red bibs. And that’s about all I can remember of that one …

And then the Golden Pavilion! That one is impossible to forget. It is intensely gold. We passed by some pot that it’s good luck if you can get a coin into. Which, the husband totally did! Guess I’ll keep him around.

And then the last stop of the night. The worstest, unnecessariest, stop of our trip. Geisha-hunting at Gion corner. It had been a long day: we started the morning in Osaka, rode the bus to Kyoto, saw two temples and a shrine, learned to make tea, and had a quick shopping stop. It was dinner time, we were all tired, and here we were, stopping to hope we’d get a glimpse at some geisha.

We did not see any geisha.

We *might* have seen some on a bus that passed by, but they may also have been tourists playing dress-up for the day.

So that was a bust, and we headed to our hotel. Which was not terribly close to a train station, but did have a shuttle that would have taken us to one, had we desired. (Like for dinner: train stations = restaurants.)

But we were tired, so we picked up some conbini food and called it a night. Note: I made sure to get jerky and cashews … actual protein sources … for the husband.

There was surprise chocolate in the bread!