Things I Wish I Knew Before Visiting Japan

Coming from the United States, there were many small things that surprised me on my work trip to Japan! To help prepare you, here are some random things I wish I knew before heading to Japan: Bathrooms: • Most of the toilets here are bidets aka if you push the wrong button water will start…

9 Things to do in Utsunomiya, Japan!

For my work trip to Japan we stayed about 75 miles north of Tokyo in Utsunomiya. Utsunomiya is the capital of the Tochigi prefecture and served as my home for two weeks. While Utsunomiya was a perfect home base for day trips to Tokyo and Nikko, here are the main things I found to do…

Naked and Afraid in a Japanese Onsen

Some people are comfortable being naked; I am not one of those people. Locker room changes and communal showers became regulars in my collegiate athletic career, but while my teammates lounged au natural, I quietly changed in the bathroom stall and waited until the showers were all clear. With my aversion to nudity, visiting a…

Going to a Japanese Festival in Utsunomiya, Japan

While in town for work we were lucky enough to be around for the Miya Matsuri festival in Utsunomiya, Japan. It occurs on the first Saturday and Sunday of August each year. The festival started in 1976 when Japan was going through some slow economic growth as a way to encourage people to get out…

Tokyo, Japan in a Day

While there are way too many things to do and see in Tokyo in just one day, here is how we made the most of our limited time! After our 1 hour and 45 minute train ride from Utsunomiya we got off at the Tokyo Skytree station. We saw the Skytree from the outside while…

An Adventurous Dinner in Utsunomiya, Japan

A couple weeks ago, I had a chance to travel to Utsunomiya, Japan on a trip for work and had the chance to try a lot of new foods while I was there! One night we went to a yakitori (translated as grilled bird/chicken) restaurant with our new Japanese friends. We were seated in a back room…

Visiting a Cat Cafe in Utsunomiya, Japan

As an avid cat lover and missing both my cats from home while traveling to Japan for work, I couldn’t be more excited when I learned that there was a cat café near our hotel in Utsunomiya. Just off of Orion Dori (a main shopping street), you can find Cat Café Nekomiya. It is on…

Visiting Hachimanyama Park in Utsunomiya, Japan

On my recent work trip to Japan, I only ended up with one free day (without work) in Utsunomiya. I decided to venture out to try to find Hachimanyama Park since I had read about Utsunomiya Tower online. Leaving from my hotel close to the train station, it was supposed to be about a 30…

Nikko, Japan in a Day

On my recent trip to Japan, we decided to take a day trip to Nikko, just a 45 minute train ride from Utsunomiya where we were staying! Once at the train station we bought bus tickets which let us get on and off buses without having to pay a fare each time. There were 2 different…

Visiting Nikko, Japan: Toshogu Shrine

This summer I was lucky enough to have a work trip for 2 weeks in Utsunomiya, Japan. Only a 45 minute train ride away, we had to head to Nikko, Japan for a day! Our main stop of the day was Toshogu Shrine. Toshogu is a World Heritage Site and the final resting place of Tokugawa…