Thoughts on Japan by Kelly

Well we are on Day 12 of our round the world journey and so far so good.  Japan has been an amazing place to start our trip!  I can’t say enough about our experience.  The food has been incredible – sushi, ton katsu, teriyaki, Japanese pancakes called okonomiyaki, and yakitori at a place that has been serving the dish for 80 years!!  We navigated the subways and walked for miles to explore Tokyo – Harajuku neighborhood, Ghibli Museum, Tokyo Tower, an anime exhibit, giant pandas at the zoo and the Edo Museum.  The girls did great, although we all had to get over the jet lag, which would hit at all times of the day.  Thankfully we were staying the the Tokyo American Club which was a nice place to have some down time with a pool, a bowling alley and a library.  We have also lucked out on the weather – it has been slightly overcast with some breeze most of our time here.

We left Tokyo yesterday to head out of the big city to the area around Mt. Fuki, Hakone.  What an experience this has been!  After taking a train trip up the mountain in a funicular, we were transported to the beautiful, scenic small town of Gora.  We were taken to our Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn.  The girls were ecstatic to get kimonos to wear all during our stay. They also slept on traditional Japanese futons atop tatami mats to add to the experience!

The funicular we took to Hakone

The funicular we took to Hakone


Sleeping on futons on tatami mats


This area is known for hot springs, so needless to say, we soaked as much as we could in our own “onsen” on our deck.  After all of our walking and touring, I could have soaked all day and night!!  The highlight of our time at the ryokan were the meals.  We were served a traditional 12 course Japanese meal that words cannot even begin to explain – see pictures below.  The breakfast was just as amazing.  None of us were sure how we would feel about starting off our morning with fish and miso soup, but we were all pleasantly surprised.  And the girls were adventurous in trying all new things.  Lauren loved the rice porridge for breakfast, Claire now likes raw fish, and Grace ate up the clams in the miso soup this morning!  We are so proud of all they have been trying.


Relaxing in our hot spring


I could go on and on, but suffice to say that I think Japan is pretty great!  Their attention to detail is incredible, they are so respectful and helpful – a woman on the street actually put an address for a restaurant we were looking for into her phone and walked us there!!  It’s clean, it’s safe and super fashionable, which leads me to my luggage.  Yes, I am living out of a carry on for 1 year.  How am I going to do it it?  I’m not sure.  Things are already not fitting in the suitcase like they did the day we left San Francisco, yet I have nothing new in my bag.  Go figure.  The hard part is just seeing what other women are wearing and wanting to wear it too.  But, no worries, I will survive with what I have…..I hope.

Hard to believe it’s only been 12 days and we have 11 months to go on this crazy adventure.  We hope to keep blogging to keep you all up to date and to create a journal for ourselves of this amazing experience.


  1. norma · August 29, 2015

    Awesome! Makes me feel emotional reading about all the new things the girls and you are experiencing! Pretty amazing!


  2. Carolyn and Doug · August 29, 2015

    Great blog Kelly. It sounds like you a hitting your stride and able to see and do the things that you had planned on. The open air museum in Hakone was pretty amazing. We looked it up. The Ryokan must have been quite experience for all of you. More and more people are tuning in to your blog and enjoying your adventure. “Wandering 5” — what a great name.
    Our love to all of you,
    Mom and dad


  3. Melinda · August 29, 2015

    Love all the blogs, keep them coming. I feel as if I am on the adventure with you. Enjoy every moment!


  4. Caroline · August 29, 2015

    Oh my gosh!!! You guys look (and sound) like you’re having soooo much fun!!! I think it is awesome that you’re all learning so much about the culture and the people living in it. I bet the train ride had some pretty incredible views! You guys are sure having a lot of exiting/once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Love the kimonos, and figuring that it must be nice to be able to get back after a long day of walking, throw on a bathing suit, and literally walk out the door and into the “onsen”. I hope we get a chance to skype/facetime soon, because I’d love to hear from you and see your faces! Keep on wandering!


  5. Cathy Kahn · August 30, 2015

    HI Kelly,
    I am following your blog in Pass Christian, MS. All your experiences sound so
    exciting. Have a great adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Karen Kelly · August 31, 2015

    What a wonderful trip! Thanks for including me, and I look forward to hearing more in the weeks to come.
    Karen Kelly


  7. clara sanchez · November 6, 2015

    What an amazing adventure! I enjoy reading your journals and think of you and the family often, and pray the whole year’s experience will be very successful. Also glad the kids have this opportunity to learn beyond the school curricula. Prayers for more great adventures. God bless, Tita C


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