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By Shereen Travels Cheap
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How To Take a Japan Staycation

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We are on a steady every-other-weekend schedule for our destination date nights. I was excited to visit Japan, and while planning, I couldn’t decide between Mt. Fuji and Tokyo, so I we will be doing a second Japan staycation focusing on Tokyo. Since we aren’t traveling at all right now, this is a fun way to take a mini vacay without leaving home. 

This last weekend I focused on Mt. Fuji and Japanese culture, as we are looking forward to a future trip and I’ll be interested to learn a little more about my heritage (my paternal grandmother was Japanese) and indulge in a ton of delicious food and super cool architecture.
You can’t have a Japanese table setting without a cool lantern. I had this great lantern hanging around, so I busted out my Cricut and Japan-ed it up with some fun words. In this case, it says Shushi Date, because that’s what we were doing. 

This gave us a great excuse to try a new Japanese restaurant that is a bit more upscale than our usual sushi-go-rounds. I was excited to find this place that also served butterfish, because it’s extremely difficult to find around here. If you haven’t had it before, make sure to order it if you ever come across it on a menu. It’s delicious and melts in your mouth, which might be why it’s called butterfish. 

Look how gorgeous this spread is! I also went to the local Asian market and picked up a trio of Ramune soda flavors and a bottle of sake. As always, our sushi spread was phenomenal, and I made sure to get some veggies in, including a pickled radish roll. 
If you haven’t had Ramune before – this was our first time – it’s a soda that comes in a ton of different flavors in glass bottles. The top doesn’t have a cap, but instead has a plastic cover that you pull off, take apart, and then use it to jab into the top of the bottle to push a glass sphere into the bottle (it has a special compartment). That’s actually the best part of the soda, in my opinion. I picked melon, because I thought it would be the most interesting, but it didn’t have a flavor at all really. Next I picked watermelon. It was pink, but was also not that big on flavor. Last, I picked peach, because I figured you couldn’t go wrong with that one. This one had the best flavor and I would actually go out of my way to drink it again. These are pretty much just fizzy sugar water though, so if you aren’t a regular soda drinker (we only drink diet), you might feel like it’s a bit much.

Here you see the fun bottle of Aladdin sake. It’s shimmery and really pretty. I don’t speak or read Japanese, so I 100% bought this based on the bottle, knowing it would also be something I would use after I drank it. I liked it. It’s very rum-like. I’d be into trying their other flavors. This was the Aizu Homare Nigori sake.

My second backdrop was this lovely Japanese village. 

I like having a second side that really sells the setting and makes me feel more into the destination.  
As usual, we brought the laptop out and took a tour from home. We did two Mt. Fuji tours – one was a drone tour and the other gave some fun tips – and then 3 different geisha performances while we were eating dinner.

I also got these lovely little sushi plates, with accompanying soy sauce dishes, that really showcased each piece we ate.

None of the our local sushi or Japanese places really have traditional desserts, besides mochi, so I picked up a box of Thai tea mochi from Trader Joe’s. They also have more Americanized flavors, like chocolate and strawberry, and if you like an earthy flavor, they also have matcha. 

I always want to try all the cool candy I see at our local Uwajimaya store, so while I was picking up Ramune and sake, I also snagged some fun Pocky flavors and this mystery candy that turned out to be like little jawbreakers that are grape and wine flavored. There’s also a third flavor in the middle, but I didn’t make it to that and I really don’t recommend these unless you’re a fan of sour candies. Eric really enjoyed them. 

This was a spendy “night out”, compared to our others, but I knew it would be. I want to say that it ran us around $160 with food and decor. Clearly, you can do this more affordably. Because of this date, we have talked about possibly taking an online sushi class. If you already make your own sushi, this can be a great activity to take you into your Japan adventure.

Here are some things that can help you make your Japan staycation awesome:
  • Sushi kit
  • Sushi serving board
  • Cherry blossoms 
  • Japan playlist on YouTube – this is mine
  • Travel guides for your eventual trip. Here are two I have on my wish list:
  • As always, make this as easy or as involved as you want. Tailor it to how you like to travel and do date night. Maybe get into a documentary (there’s one on my playlist that we enjoyed) or learn some cultural traditions or learn to recreate a tea ceremony or learn a Buddhist prayer chant. There’s so much you can do with each destination without actually having to be there. Go to your local Asian market and get all the weird foods, plan your dream trip, and start figuring out what you will pack on said trip. 

    Have you ever been to Asia? If so, what was your favorite thing? If not, what do you look forward to the most?

    Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I may be compensated should you choose to make any purchases through them. This allows me to keep this blog running for you. Thanks in advance!

    Want to read more tips for traveling worldwide on a budget? Check out my blog at Shereen Travels Cheap or find me on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll also find product and website suggestions, packing tips, current deals and a whole lot more to help you travel better for less!


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