Japan had never been on the top of my list of places to go, but after experiencing this magical destination I quickly attributed this to my lack of knowledge about its fascinating culture beyond the fact that I love sushi and sake.  The Japanese are some of the most gracious, hospitable, artistic and clean people that I have ever met.  After galavanting in their squeaky clean streets, I couldn’t help but be embarrassed by what they must think of New York City.  I would like to think the beauty of the NYC skyline would distract them but Tokyo has city views that even rival my hometown.  It was a quick trip, but we hit the high points and with that said, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves on this one.

First, I have to acknowledge the utter beauty and service of The Peninsula Hotel.  The moment you walk into the lobby you are surrounded by music and laughter as the live band plays overhead (daily) and locals enjoy afternoon tea. The positive energy that you feel in this instance is permeated in every floor and guestroom. They’ve managed to achieve an ambiance that evokes a complete state of calm– no easy feat in the world’s largest metropolis.

The guestrooms were absolutely magnificent with a massive bathroom and to-die-for closet. I documented every corner to model my dream bedroom after!

The Presidential Suite put my guestroom to shame with a dining room, gym, office and a bathroom the size of my apartment!

While I could’ve stayed up all night admiring the beautiful views from my window, I had to turn in early for the 4 a.m. wake up call from JTB Tours to head over to the Tsukiji Fish Market.  Luckily this was followed by a 6 a.m. sushi breakfast–finally somewhere people won’t think I’m nuts for craving raw fish the moment I wake up!

The rest of the day we spend admiring the views of Mount Fuji from the Ropongi Hills, followed by a trip to the Asakusa shopping district and the Senso-ji Temple right next door.

The next day I bought more shoes than necessary in the Harajuku neighborhood and ate one of my favorite meals of the entire trip at a little whole in the wall tempura shop.  I’ve been trying to find a dish like this in New York since I got back with little success.

On our final day, we were escorted by Remote Lands to watch Sumo wrestlers practice in their stables and to tour the Meji Shrine, followed by another meal of hand made soba noodles that will sadly never be replicated.

While short, this was without a doubt, a life changing trip.  Experiencing a culture so different from your own forces you to look at things a little differently.  If Japan is not at the top of your bucket list, you have some re-evaluating to do!