Loren came to visit us during her school's February break and we were SO happy to have her! She came on a Sunday and left late on a Friday so it was quite a whirlwind, but that made us treasure every moment that much more.

On the very first morning Loren made me a delicious poached egg on toast. Yay. I was liking this hosting thing.

Being that we are both huge Disney fans, Tokyo Disney Sea had to happen. First stop: picking up some matching head gear so that we could be as twinsy cute as the other girls. We couldn't keep up with them on the fashion front, though. Their small school girl uniforms were worn impressively well in the freezing weather. One of the best moments that day was being stopped and asked to pose for a photo with two Japanese girls. I'm pretty sure that Loren's bright blonde hair did it.

Meiji Shrine is conveniently located in Harajuku. After a jaunt down the famous Takeshidori Street we got some yummy lunch at Aoyama Flower Market Tea House and then headed over in the rain. We made sure to cleanse our mouths before entering the shrine.

One of the most girly-fun things to do in Tokyo is to take puripuri photos that make you look super かわいい and then edit them to max the cute factor. We did it once but were drawn back for another round a few days later.

Speaking of かわいい, what could be cuter than spending an hour with some adorable owls in Akihabara? Several months ago Tim and I tried to visit Akiba Owls as walk-in's, not realizing that they fill up days in advance, so we ended up heading down the street to Owl Forest (see prior post for details). This time I was prepared and booked Akiba Owls three days out. Unlike our previous owl experience, this place was very zen. They directed our group to be very calm and quiet and we all took it pretty seriously.

For people who are interested in a future owl encounter, here were the differences:

Akiba Owls:

  • 1500 yen
  • 1 hour time limit
  • about half of the owls were "look only"
  • no frills environment
  • includes a laminated photo of you with your owl
  • book 2-3 days out online

 Owl Forest:

  • 800 yen
  • unlimited time
  • must buy a tea/coffee
  • neon lights, champagne bottles, giant flat screens
  • walk-in, no online booking, 30-60 minute wait


Afterwards we took Loren to GIANT udon. Really it's just a huge bowl with a normal-sized portion of udon but you have the option of double or tripling the amount of noodles. 

Sensoji Temple is a massive buddhist temple with several buildings and a lot of history. Leading up to it is a little maze of shops and restaurants that we managed to get lost in for quite awhile. Right next door are the Tokyo Skytree and the Asahi Building (one has a flame and the other is a mug of beer).

It turned out that one of Loren's favorite Tokyo past times was browsing gacha gacha machines - vending machines full of plastic balls. She fell in love with the sushi cat variety so we made sure to stop and browse whenever we found a row.

Another of her new favorites - Ichiran Ramen! Something especially nice about this ramen shop is that they let you select the level of oil, richness, and spicy flavor, so the ramen was just perfect for her. She also found the automated ordering system and layout of the restaurant to be pretty fascinating.

On Loren's last day we had beautiful weather! We headed to Odabia and enjoyed the ride over Rainbow Bridge, seeing the Statue of Liberty, the giant Gundam, and Diver City's strange dated, boardwalk-esque interiors.

Before long it was time for Loren to pack up and head to the airport. In perfect Tokyo train fashion, the guy next to her fell asleep... on her shoulder. She bore it well.

Waaaaa!!! We wish she didn't have to leave so soon! Things were just getting started!

Thanks for coming all the way out to Japan, Loren. :) We had so much fun together and now we can reminisce about our Tokyo adventures forever! xoxoxoxox