Easy Japanese Recipes

Japan Trip 2012 vol. 4

Japan Trip 2012 vol. 4 | JustOneCookbook.comI want to thank my dearest readers for reading my Japan Trip posts.  I received a lot of feedback from you and I enjoyed reading them.  I wish there are more stories to share about where I came from but I was there for only 2 short weeks.  Half of the time our children were still jet lagged and my husband was working, so we didn’t go out as much as we normally do when we visit Japan.

This is my final post about our trip.  If you missed my previous posts, here are the links: Vol. 1 | Vol. 2 (Kobe & Osaka) | Vol. 3 (Hakone).

After we came back to Yokohama from our trip to Hakone, sakura (cherry blossoms) was in full bloom.  I thought of going to Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) for cherry blossom viewing.  It is a large park with famous gardens located in Shinjuku and Shibuya, Tokyo and the park has 1,500 cherry trees there.  After thinking over, I decided not to (next time!) because of how crowded it could get and I still had two little ones with us.   There is a lot of walking and train switching to go from place A to place B in Tokyo area and I wasn’t quite comfortable doing that with my children.  So instead, we decided to just walk around our neighborhood.

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All the cherry blossom trees are full with delicate pink flowers.

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When wind was blowing, petals falling down from the trees made the scenery seem like it’s snowing.  I enjoy the full bloom but I also enjoy this Sakura Fubuki (cherry blossom storm).  You have to be there to experience this beautiful moment.  I found this video clip online that shows what it’s like.  By the way, you can see some people are having a picnic under the tree.

In my neighborhood, there are small bamboo forests and our children wanted to see “pandas” so we walked there to check out the bamboo forests (of course there are no pandas!).

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When entering the forest, I particularly love the soothing noise of bamboo leaves brown by the wind.

During our short stay in Japan, I had a few goals that I needed to accomplish.  One of them was to take my children to a photo studio and take their pictures wearing traditional kimonos.   My son is 5 years old (turning 6 next week!) and my daughter then was 3 years old.  So it was time to celebrate Shichi-Go-San (七五三, “Seven-Five-Three”).

November 15th or the closest weekend is Shichi-Go-San in Japan and it’s a day of prayer for the healthy growth of young children.  Boys and girls aged three, boys aged five, and girls aged seven visit a Shinto shrine with their parents.  Girls wear kimonos and boys wear haori jackets and hakama trousers.

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Since November 15th has long passed, we just took pictures of them for the memory.  It takes a long time for a girl to wear a kimono and do special hair style, and our baby did really well.  Something to remember when they get older…

My husband had purchased 3 magazines that featured things to do and places to eat around our neighborhood.  Every time we go to Japan, he studies these magazines and decides what new restaurants we should explore.  Since he’s has been to Japan many times he has had the opportunity to try a lot of authentic dishes there.

But one thing he hasn’t tried was really good unagi (eel) in a unagi specialty restaurant.  I cook Unagi Don at home, but the quality of fresh unagi in Japan is much better than the frozen ones we buy from the supermarket in the US.  This was our last meal with my family and we went to Uyagawa restaurant featured in one of the magazines.

After my dad and my husband ordered Japanese beer, otooshi (お通し), an appetizer, came as part of the drink order.

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The otooshi was chutoro, medium fatty tuna sashimi.  My husband said it was so good that he decided to order another chutoro sashimi for our kids.  They are crazy about sashimi.

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I’m still amazed how raw fish in Japan can be so fresh.  It’s just amazing.  I wish I can get this quality in the US.

Then my dad told my husband we have to try grilled unagi kabuto (head) and unagi liver.

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Unagi liver on the left and head on the right.  Because of the delicious sauce you don’t really taste anything weird or fishy.  Even our children tried and they liked both.  The unagi head was cooked until the bone almost dissolved so you couldn’t really feel the skull bone.  The liver was very fresh and my husband said it’s similar texture to pig intestine, but much smaller and refined (I’ve never had pig intestine before…).

We also order Yanagawa Nabe (dojo loach hot pot).  Dojo is known as weatherfish or weather loach and enjoyed in many Asian countries.  The dojo was simmered in stock with sliced burdock root and egg in a shallow hot pot.

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Dojo is not something we eat normally, so it was a great experience for me too.  This dish was actually very good.  I ate quite a bit with steamed rice and it was yummy!  The burdock root goes so well with this sweet soy sauce stock and egg made the dish creamy and mild.

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We asked the chef if we take pictures of him grilling unagi and we were told it’s okay as long as we stood outside the kitchen.  You can Google and find how they dissect the fresh eels but I will skip since not all readers would be comfortable with the process.

Now the chef started to grill.

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Here’s a very short video clip of how he grilled.

He grilled unagi till about 70% cooked, then dipped the eels into his homemade unagi sauce pot you see in the back.  He grilled again and dipped, and grilled…until unagi was perfectly cooked.

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Then he put unagi in a special steamer for the last process.  He drizzled the sauce over rice then place the unagi on top of the rice.

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Usually unagi is served in a jubako, a lacquer bento box (above).  This unagi dish is called Unaju (うな重).  “Una” is the abbreviation of “unagi” and “ju” is the abbreviation of “jubako.”  If you serve unagi over rice in a bowl (donburi) at home, then it is Unadonn (Unagi Don) (うな丼) (unagi + donburi).

Depending on how much unagi you want, the price is different ranging from $30 for a small to $60 for a large.  The above photo is for the medium size.  Eating unagi in a specialty restaurant is a real treat and quite pricey due to lack of domestic eels.

After opening the jubako cover, and biting into the soft tender eel meat with fabulous sweet sauce and a bit of rice, the price is well worth it.  The recipe for the sauce is secret for each store.  Some restaurants has been using the same sauce for many many years and just keep adding base sauce in the pot every day.

The next day we took a bus to go to Narita Airport.  We passed by Tokyo downtown, and Tokyo Tower (東京タワー).

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As soon as you leave the downtown area, you will soon see a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay and you still see the Tokyo Tower there.

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Next you see the tallest tower in the world, Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) in the back of the buildings.  Maybe it’s too small to see from this photo below.

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Here now you can see it.  The construction was completed in February 2012 and it just opened to the public 2 days ago.  This is a broadcasting, restaurant, and observation tower.

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We had a great time in Japan.  Our children always long for going back soon.  They love the food, activities, hot springs, and they can go on and on.  After having my blog, I also realize that I have a great opportunity to introduce Japan and share the pictures about it.  We go back to Japan every year so I am looking forward to sharing many things in the future.

Next Monday is Memorial Day and it’s a holiday here in the US.  I’m very behind in my correspondence to your feedback and questions, so I’ll be taking Monday off.  I will come back next Thursday with very easy Unadon (unagi over rice) recipe with homemade sauce, just like you saw in my post today.  I hope you will come back to check it out.


Lastly, it was my son’s turn to pick the winners via random.org.  Two lucky winners of my recent giveaways, a box of Japanese Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kat, are:


Congratulations Sylvia and Lynn!  Thank you everyone for participating the giveaways.  I’ll be contacting the winners soon.

Posted in: Travel

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  • mycookinghut May 24, 2012, 1:51 am

    Oh wow, what a great write up! I really miss Japan – looking at Unagi Don, I seriously want to eat it now (even if I just had my breakfast)! It was my best ever trip to Japan during cherry blossom.. oh how I miss it now!

  • Sam Bear May 24, 2012, 2:15 am

    everything looks so delicious T_T I’ve only ever had frozen unagi and its really not the best thing ever so I can’t really imagine how much better a fresh one (at a specialty store to boot!) would taste! I suppose it’d be just that much better lol! And your kids look so cute in the traditional outfits!
    Did you also manage to visit the Tokyo Skytree?

  • Lisa H May 24, 2012, 3:06 am

    OMG… am definitely putting down Japan/Tokyo as one of many places I want to visit
    and the Unagi looks so scrumptious….

  • kat May 24, 2012, 3:11 am

    so glad you were able to enjoy cherry blossoms!

  • Tes May 24, 2012, 3:25 am

    It’s always been my dream to go to Japan :) Your post is so lovely and OMG it’s even smell delicious :)

  • Choc Chip Uru May 24, 2012, 3:28 am

    Your saga-ed experience was a lot of fun my friend and I enjoyed it immensely – you ended it perfectly with those cherry blossom shots – beautiful!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef May 24, 2012, 3:55 am

    I could certainly understand why you didn’t want to travel to Shinjuku or Shibuya alone with the little kids. I’ve been lost in both places more than once. LOL Shinjuku has English signage which gives great confidence for non-Japanese speakers but when you get to the next station, you’re outta luck trying to find your way back. :) It’s a great experience.

    I love your photos, my dear!

  • Belinda @zomppa May 24, 2012, 3:59 am

    Those photos are WAY TOO ADORABLE!!! The food looks ridunkulous as always, and the cherry blossom festival beauiful!

  • ava-j May 24, 2012, 4:29 am

    Arrrrrgggghhh! I’m drooling bigtime here girl! I’ve loved unagi, since I tried the ones my MIL ordered at a Japanese resto some time ago. Have to confess, I’m not overly fond of the thought of eel-head, but I trust you when you say it’s delicious…so it’s going on my to-try-list when our dream trip to Japan happens. I would love to experience a sakura fubuki in my lifetime too, it must be amazing!:) Thanks again for this post Nami!

  • Eha May 24, 2012, 4:31 am

    This post goes into my special file for the weekend! Oh, Nami, I loved all the differing parts: the cherry blossom storm [thanks for the video], the beautiful photos of your children for the 7-5-3 festivities . . . Oops, better start another sentence: I have loved eel since I was a small child in N Europe, but that does not go next to your son and daughter . . . or, yes it does, they liked it too :) ! [perhaps the unagi head does not appeal all that much?!]

  • Mandy - The Complete Cook Book May 24, 2012, 4:31 am

    What a beautiful last post for this series about your trip Nami with magnificent photos.
    :-) Mandy

  • Rosa May 24, 2012, 4:34 am

    Lovely cherry trees! Spring is so beautiful in Japan…

    The food looks mighty scrumptious!



  • Ramona May 24, 2012, 4:45 am

    Nami, I have truly enjoyed reading all your posts about your trip to Japan!! You should be a travel guide.. you describe your homeland with such beauty and pride! The pictures of your two children in traditional Japanese clothing is stunning. Japan is a beautiful country and I can see why you love it so much. I can see why you miss it so much…..

  • Natalie May 24, 2012, 5:00 am

    I have to say that I look forward to looking at all your pictures from Japan! I love the cherry blossom trees they are gorgeous. And your kids are so beautiful Nami! If you are ever planning a trip down to Miami I would love to photograph them. Have a great day!

  • Sandra May 24, 2012, 5:17 am

    Oh my word! This is just beautiful; the trip, your pictures and your family. Thank you for sharing them all.

  • Joanne May 24, 2012, 5:50 am

    I’ve always wanted to see those cherry blossoms! Gorgeous.

  • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles May 24, 2012, 5:58 am

    I tell you, those cherry blossom trees literally bring tears to my eyes… so exquisitely beautiful! Love the photos of your little ones in formal attire – they did well indeed! Lovely photos Nami.

  • Biren @ Roti n Rice May 24, 2012, 6:29 am

    Sounds like you and your family had a wonderful time. I missed the first 3 volumes and will have to check it out sometime. Nice pictures and write-up. We will have to check out this unagi restaurant the next time I visit japan. Hubby loves unadon. :)

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking May 24, 2012, 7:16 am

    I don’t know where to start…wow I am still blown away by the cherry blossom storm..very beautiful, and everybody should experience that at least once in their lifetime.
    Your children are adorable wearing traditional kimonos!
    Food looks fantastic, I never had eel but by husband did. I remember that he was telling me that it tasted very good, even though it is prepared in totally different way. Love the way tuna sashimi looks..
    Great post Nami, I was enjoying reading one more incredible post about Japan.

  • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake May 24, 2012, 7:20 am

    I miss Japan so much :( and I miss good unagi! Love your sakura photos, I missed it again this year which was such a shame…I only managed to see ume blossoms…
    And I can’t get over how cute your children are. They will grow up to be very good looking people. Seriously. :D

  • Liliana Tan May 24, 2012, 7:29 am

    Lovely video….as if I could smell the petals and feel the atmosphere there! Thanks for sharing, Nami.

  • Sissi May 24, 2012, 7:42 am

    Nami, I have enjoyed so much reading about your Japan adventures! The kimono photos are sooooo cute! Your post is so full of fascinating things, I could comment forever… The food looks incredible. I love eel and here of course it’s far from excellent… I would love to taste the eel liver and head. You will not believe me but I used to eat leach as a child! Of course not prepared in a Japanese way ;-)
    And the bamboo forest!!! Wow! it looks almost science-fiction to me! Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip with us. It’s a pity it’s the last part :-(

  • Evelyne@cheapethniceatz May 24, 2012, 7:47 am

    cherry blossoms are so beautiful and I would love to walk in a bamboo forest some day. The pictures of your kids…too cute. Food looks awesome, I always order unagi, its addictive for me.

  • Catalina @ Cake with Love May 24, 2012, 7:48 am

    I love to read about your Japan trip, as I said I have a lot of respect for Japanese culture and customs! All the photos are beautiful!

  • lynn @ the actor's diet May 24, 2012, 7:49 am

    oh my GOD i really hope i’m the “lynn” who won the giveaway!!!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) May 24, 2012, 8:00 am

    I love your photos of the cherry blossoms and bamboo forest. Your kids are adorable in their kimonos, Nami!

  • Asmita May 24, 2012, 8:29 am

    Hi Nami,
    You really seem to have had a wonderful vacation. The photographs with your kids wearing the kimonos are just adorable!
    I am all set for my vacation to Mumbai too. Will be off for 4 weeks. Cannot wait to meet my family and close friends.

  • Reem | Simply Reem May 24, 2012, 8:41 am

    That cherry blossom, I have to be there. My hubby is leaving for Japan next wekk, God I need to tag along..LOL
    Enzo and Shiori look adorable in the Kimonos..

  • Jessica May 24, 2012, 8:42 am

    The cherry blossom that you went was very beautiful compare to the one I went last month.

  • FeastYourEyes! May 24, 2012, 8:45 am

    Oh my! Nami your posts about your trip to Japan are nothing less but outstanding! It makes me want to go grab a hot bowl of ramen or Udon. The cherry blossom tree’s look so beautiful and the kids look like they had some fun with their photo shoot! Thank you for sharing your trip with all of us.

  • Javelin Warrior May 24, 2012, 10:17 am

    Thank YOU for sharing your travels with all of us – more amazing photos as always, Nami. The bamboo forests and fresh fish alone make me want to visit Japan someday soon. And your kids are so cute in their kimono and haori jacket!

  • Magic of Spice May 24, 2012, 10:23 am

    Your kids are so adorable…love those photos! Such a stunning post and series, thanks for taking me along :)

  • yummychunklet May 24, 2012, 10:33 am

    How fun! Love the photos of the kiddies!

  • donna mikasa May 24, 2012, 10:48 am

    I wish your trip was longer and there would be more pictures to share! I love it all. The sakura, the sightseeing, your kawaii kodomo, and that fabulous unagi don! We are definitely returning to Japan in the next few years and I’m so looking forward to just being there!! I may never come home…

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking May 24, 2012, 11:04 am

    What an amazing array of images and stories from your trip, Nami! You have a beautiful family and your children are just precious. Thank you for sharing!

  • kankana May 24, 2012, 11:19 am

    Awww the kids look so cute in that traditional dress and those flowers are sooo pretty white! Once again .. amazing photos. You are inspiring me to take a trip to Japan

  • Tina@flourtrader May 24, 2012, 11:36 am

    Thank you for sharing your visit to Japan. This does bring me back to my childhood, for I lived there when I was very little. However, my parents did the same photo of us kids in the kimonos as well! Also, the cherry blossoms were also something I remembered. I need to go back there again.

  • The Squishy Monster May 24, 2012, 12:50 pm

    Mmm yum! Your trip looks so delicious ;) Thanks for sharing…next time, please take me =D

  • Liren May 24, 2012, 1:07 pm

    Okay, so my favorite shots in this whole post are the ones of your little ones in kimono! My cousins are half Japanese, and my favorite pictures of them growing up are the ones of them in traditional kimono!

  • Michiko Yokoe May 24, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Whaa! I looove unagi! Looking so much forward for the recipe!!! Thanks in advance! … needless to say, i miss sakura, sashimi eating in an izakaya and tokyo!!

  • Sylvia@Peaches and Donuts May 24, 2012, 2:01 pm

    OMG!! I won?! I had to take a double look when i saw my name there!! Thanks so much and please thank your son for his lucky fingers. :)
    back to your post….Thanks for taking us on your wonderful holiday. I’ve really enjoyed reading all your posts and I especially like the pics of your kids all dressed up! How cute are they!!!!???

  • Liz May 24, 2012, 3:04 pm

    I loved this series, too, Nami! Thanks for showing us so much of Japan’s food and culture. The family photo with the cherry blossoms is frame worthy…and I love the pictures your darling children in the native clothing! Enjoy your long weekend, my friend!

  • Kristy May 24, 2012, 4:32 pm

    Oh, I just love the bamboo forest!!! And the pictures of your children in traditional clothing is just priceless! I’ve very much enjoyed your Japan posts. It’s definitely moved up in the rank of places I want to go! And I’ll surely be back for the unagi recipe. It’s one of my favorites!

  • Elizabeth @Mango_Queen May 24, 2012, 4:58 pm

    What a great trip, Nami! I’m bookmarking this for future reference. I love the cherry blossoms in Japan at this time of year! Thanks for sharing your travels.

  • Rhonda May 24, 2012, 5:01 pm

    I am so impressed that your children are such adventurous eaters. Everything looks so delicious, I wish I could try it too!

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts May 24, 2012, 5:30 pm

    Another great write up about your trip. Love that you got to take pictures of them grilling at the restaurant!

  • Susan May 24, 2012, 5:56 pm

    Awww….I love the kimono pictures. Before we left Japan, we had the girls pose for similar pictures at a specialty studio. My youngest was only a baby, so she was easy to dress. The swaddled her in a tight wrap and put her in a chair and tied her baby kimono over her! My oldest was only four but she held so still while they did her hair, dressed her, and put on a bit of makeup. I should send you it on email sometime. It was a fun experience – plus, when they were having thier picture taken, we created quite a scene and people were packed outside the studio seeing the two American babies all dressed up! I never heard the term “kawaii” said so much!

    Also – I learned the kanji for some foods, but expeciallu unagi so when we went to a restaurant with no picture or English menu (haha), I could order my husband’s favorite food!

    Thank you for more pictures. I love them!!


  • Jeannie May 24, 2012, 6:14 pm

    What a wonderful post, Nami, I enjoyed reading and also the beautiful photos. I hope I get to visit Japan during the Sakura blooming season. That unagi certainly looks so delicious, one of my favorite Japanese dish! Thanks for showing how it was cooked, interesting!

  • Lisa (AuthenticSuburbanGourmet) May 24, 2012, 7:40 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your entire series and felt like I actually was there through your photos and writing. Nicely done. Your kids look great in the traditional dress of Japan – precious!

  • Patty May 24, 2012, 9:00 pm

    Great write up Nami! I really enjoyed your Japan series, you covered so many interesting things about japan and really brought us along with you on your travels. The pictures of the kids are adorable;-)

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious May 24, 2012, 9:57 pm

    Yay, I loved this volume. Those cherry blossom trees are so beautiful. And that unagi?! Ahhhh, I’ve been craving unagi for a really long time. You’re killing me here!

  • Baltic Maid May 24, 2012, 11:20 pm

    I loved this volume. Thanks! I have always loved the cherry blossoms; they are so pretty. There is a German movie called ‘Kirschblüten Hanami’, the English version of it is called ‘Cherry Blossoms’ (2008). I love eel, too. I never had it prepared this way though, usually my brother or uncle smoke the eel when I am in Germany. Absolutely delicious with some fresh bread!!!

  • Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover May 25, 2012, 2:29 am

    Nami, Thanks for sharing the details of your wonderful trips, i know it is not easy to prepare all these travel posts, appreciate much..Like to see your children wearng in traditional way..when they have grown up, they must be fun to see all their pictures..

  • Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers May 25, 2012, 8:49 am

    Everytime I read your Japan trip posts, I can’t help sighing because Japan is really beautiful! And the cherry blossoms are a sight too. We did the viewing here in a park in Rome last year and saw some Japanese picnickers under the trees. It was lovely! I love your restaurant shots and of course, the highlight, your kids in their kimonos! Nothing can beat that.

  • Mi Vida en un Dulce May 25, 2012, 9:48 am

    It was a wonderful trip Nami….!!!
    And look at your kids, they are adorables.

  • shutterbug May 25, 2012, 10:36 am

    lucky girl! Japan looks like so much fun and there’s so much to do! I would love to see the cherry blossoms bloom! ;)

  • Laura @ Family Spice May 25, 2012, 12:04 pm

    I think I would spend my whole trip under those cherry blossom trees… Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for taking us along on your visit back home. I’m learning so much about life in Japan!

  • Hotly Spiced May 25, 2012, 2:03 pm

    Those blossoms are so beautiful and your children look gorgeous in their traditional dress Nami. And they are wonderful how they eat such a wide variety of foods. I’ve actually never tried eel! It’s not something you see on menus here in Australia very often – crocodile and kangaroo – yes, but not eel. xx

  • nipponnin May 25, 2012, 2:51 pm


  • Angeline May 25, 2012, 5:40 pm

    ohaiyo gozaimasu, lovely place and love all the food photos you posted here. Sugoi desu ne.

  • Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) May 25, 2012, 6:03 pm

    I have felt up close and personal with Japan through your posts, Nami. Thanks for your wonderful travel posts–the information and images really have me wanting to visit more than ever.

    I love, love unagi. I can only imagine how much better it tastes in Japan. Have a great weekend!

  • Shirley May 25, 2012, 9:07 pm

    Your kids — I’m sure you don’t tire of hearing this — are so cute! The bamboo forest is beautiful, and brings back memories for me. I went to college at Stony Brook on Long Island in New York, and in the 1960s some students and professors planted bamboo as an experiment. Well, you know how bamboo grows and spreads, and it’s a whole wooded area now, used primarily by students for late-night parties. haha I also recently tried eel in sushi recently and thought it was pretty good. In fact, I thought I didn’t like sushi but this neighborhood chef has been changing my mind. I suspect he’s not Japanese, though, after hearing him speak Cantonese on the phone one day!
    Love the photos as usual!

  • Blackswan May 25, 2012, 10:24 pm

    How r u, Nami? Just back from a food blogger trip to Malacca after coming back from Seoul. Looks like I’m missing a lot here. The shots are gorgeous, especially your adorable kids. Well, I’m following you now via email, Pinterest, g+, Facebook….. I clicked every icon up there to follow & would love to have u follow me too. I’ll be back from more……

  • Reese@SeasonwithSpice May 26, 2012, 12:24 am

    So glad that you keep these posts coming, Nami. You know how much these pictures brought back our memories of Japan. We thought of stopping by Japan on our way back to the US, but something popped up and we have to change our en-route. So I am now revisiting Japan through your sharing:)
    Between, seeing your kids in the costumes really cranked me up. They have the goofy face. Just so adorable!

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen May 26, 2012, 1:25 am

    Again it’s those cherry blossoms that get me daydreaming of a visit one day to experience that cherry blossom storm in person!

  • Lyndsey @ The Tiny Skillet May 26, 2012, 6:30 am

    Nami, I thoroughly enjoyed every leg of your trip. Such good timing that you were there for the cherry blossoms, the photos of them always amaze me they are so stunning. Love the kimono photos of your children, another special photo that will be cherished! Can’t wait for the next post, it sounds so good! Yum! Another special treat.

  • mjskit May 26, 2012, 9:16 am

    Another fascinating post of your trip! Loved the pictures and both videos! I always order unagi when we go for sushi, so I found it quite interesting as to have it is prepared. Not sure if I could do the unagi heads. :) Your kids are precious in their kimonos!!!! Thanks again for taking the time to share your homeland!

  • Giulietta | Alterkitchen May 26, 2012, 11:22 am

    Oh, mine! Wonderful places and delicious food :)
    Great trip!

  • Charles May 26, 2012, 4:47 pm

    Beautiful photos Nami – especially that bamboo photo… I love it! The angle is just perfect!

    Congratulations to the winners – even if it means no tasty chocolate for me :( Oh well… maybe another time :D

  • sophia May 26, 2012, 6:17 pm

    In love with the photos, Nami!! You have such the artist’s eye for photography.

    That nabe looks SO good. I don’t know if I’ve had doji before, but I love how they simmered the egg on top of the hot pot.

  • Valerie Brunmeier May 26, 2012, 8:27 pm

    The food looks so exotic and different but I would try it all in a second. It looks unbelievable! Your children are just totally adorable in their Japanese garb Nami! Those pictures will be treasures as they grow older.

  • Suzanne May 26, 2012, 9:29 pm

    How neat, the food again is so interesting heads, liver, eel, wow! I loved the photos of your children they are so adorable in their traditional outfits. And the now tallest building in the world just opened 2 days before your visit there. I would be so terrified to go to the top that building. Wonderful traveling with you thru your home country.

  • Malou | Skip to Malou May 26, 2012, 10:44 pm

    Great write up about Japan. It was so near from where I come from but Ive only been there since it’s a connecting flight or something. I love the photos but the mostest is the photo of your kids in Kimono. I love it!
    enjoy your day off,

  • Sammie May 27, 2012, 12:38 am

    oh my gosh!!
    1) Loving the cherry blossoms as usual.
    2) your kids are super duper duper CUUUUUUTE!!!!
    3) man!! I wish I could have gone to Japan with you! hahaa.. You are the best food tour guide!! :)

  • CookingRookie May 27, 2012, 12:45 am

    Wow, Nami, this was such a beautiful trip! I love those cherry blossoms! And your kids look so cute :-).
    Thanks for the post and have a great weekend!

  • [email protected] May 27, 2012, 4:03 am

    So beautiful! What a trip!

  • Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmet May 27, 2012, 4:54 pm

    Ohhh… Spring certainly looks beautiful in Japan! And I’m in love with the cherry trees :)

    Gorgeous post, Nami!

    Hugs <3

  • Hiragana Mama May 27, 2012, 6:33 pm

    Your kids are SO CUTE!!!!!

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats May 27, 2012, 6:46 pm

    Hi Nami! I am enjoying and drooling over all your Japan photos. Great write up too and a good read for me. The photos are so pretty.. especially the one with the Sakura flowers. I have always dreamed of taking those shots. Perhaps I will visit Japan and also Korea one day, and hopefully luck is on my side for me to see the Sakura flowers bloom. Have a good week ahead, and stay in touch. Big huggss, Jo

  • Nina May 27, 2012, 8:24 pm

    Oh Nami…yet another great post about Japan. I was talking about Osaka and Kobe to my husband the other day….he was wondering where I got all the info from. Thanks to you and your wonderful post. Love all your write:)

  • Lawyer Loves Lunch May 27, 2012, 11:28 pm

    Hi Nami! I loved the details in this post. Sadly, I may never make it to Japan but it was nice to live vicariously through your travels. I look forward to meeting you in person :)

  • Raymund May 28, 2012, 12:46 am

    Your little ones are so cute! Love their photo

  • amy @ uTryIt May 28, 2012, 2:07 am

    I truly love the neighborhood that you stayed in Japan. Those full bloom sakura are gorgeous…and your family picture is just as beautiful. :)

    I have no idea the unagi could be so pricey in Japan…cos I didn’t even had any the last time I went. Poor me, I’ve only tasted the frozen unagi from the markets here! LOL….that would definitely be something I look forward to when I have a chance to visit Japan again. And those unagi head and livers are a must try too.

    Thanks for sharing your adorable kids’ studio pictures. They are so cute. And kudos to your little girl’s patient for the hair and dress up. Have a good week ahead of you. Take care.

  • daphne May 28, 2012, 2:18 am

    I really do appreciate you sharing your trip and stories! What amazing memories to look back on as well.. and blueberry kit kat!?!?

  • Daksha May 28, 2012, 2:24 am

    Beautiful trip and photos!! like your kiddos snaps… lovely cherry trees! Spring is really beautiful in Japan…

  • Vicki Bensinger May 28, 2012, 3:17 am

    Your trip sounds wonderful even though you feel it was short. You have a lovely family and your children are precious. As always I enjoy reading your posts and viewing the foods you share and wonderful recipes.

  • Debra Kapellakis May 28, 2012, 4:15 am

    Thank you very much, I enjoyed every moment of being here.

  • Katerina May 28, 2012, 6:33 am

    Japan is a place I wish I will be able to visit at some point of my life. It is so different from where I live and I am always intrigued to learn about different cultures and people. Your children look very beautiful with their traditional costumes and I am sure you will treasure these moments for ever. Another one factor which makes me want to visit is food as well. Very different from my country’s and very special!

  • Claudia May 28, 2012, 7:33 am

    I love your travel posts, Nami. You truly give us a glimpse of being there. I soaked it all in – those cherry trees are an amazement – so huge and delicate. The food just beckons. And your children are so beautiful – I love how they are soaking up these experiences.

  • DB May 28, 2012, 8:45 am

    Beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing!

  • Lola Lobato May 28, 2012, 8:57 am

    Hi Nami, What a wonderful trip! beautiful pictures, great stories.
    Love the food!!! thank you for sharing. xo

  • love2dine May 28, 2012, 9:22 am

    awesome everything is so beautiful..

  • Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings May 28, 2012, 9:50 am

    you have a very lovely family, Nami! your kids are so cute in their traditional Japanese kimono and haori and hakana! and of course, delicious food photos once again! my dream is to cook authentic yakitori on a tradional way, with binchotan. i wanna be a yakitori grillaman!!! LOL!

  • Lyn @LovelyPantry May 28, 2012, 11:20 am

    Beautiful! Just Beautiful, Nami!! I would love to go to Japan! My Mom had the chance to go and she loved it! You’re children are so adorable! Don’t get me started on the food… I won’t stop. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Gina May 28, 2012, 12:16 pm

    These posts are so incredible, I had no idea how beautiful Japan was. I hope to travel there one day, not sure if I’d try the unagi head. What a chicken, huh. Those trees are just gorgeous and the pics or your kids are priceless. I sure hope you can make it to the jam party, we will have lots of fun and we are overdue to meet.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  • Shu Han May 28, 2012, 1:30 pm

    gorgeous photos nami, what a lovely trip back home. I definitely want to visit Japan one day, I’ve always wanted to, now I really really want to. I need to save up first though :/ I hear from my japanese friend that things aren’t cheap at all..

  • Delishhh May 28, 2012, 1:50 pm

    Awesome trip, awesome photo’s. I haven’t been to Japan in many years but i used to go every year when i lived in South Korea for 5 years. Love it there, so organized and the subway system is just awesome. Your kids are adorable!

  • Carolyn Jung May 28, 2012, 3:24 pm

    Cherry blossoms are one of my favorite parts about spring. The trees, with their load of bright pink petals, are just breathtaking.

  • kitchenriffs May 28, 2012, 4:24 pm

    OK, I know I keep saying how much I love the posts about your trip to Japan, but it’s true – I’m thoroughly enjoying reading every one! You saw so much great stuff, ate some wonderful food, and your pictures are fabulous. I wasn’t there, but I feel almost as if I was. Love to be able to visit there myself someday. Thanks so much.

  • Jay May 28, 2012, 6:02 pm

    wooooow…lovely writeup with excellent pics..
    thanks for the wonderful visual tour dear
    Tasty Appetite

  • Kim Bee May 28, 2012, 6:04 pm

    Nami this is wonderful. I love the photo of your family under the tree. All the food looks incredible. I am so glad you guys had a wonderful trip. I appreciate you sharing it with us.

  • Baker Street May 28, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Oh my! Japan is really calling out to me! The cherry blossoms, the food, the culture. I truly enjoyed reading this series, Nami.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 28, 2012, 8:48 pm

    Oh my goodness Nami, your kids look so cute! They steal the show from the food and given how delicious it looks, that is hard! :D

  • Jeno @ Week Nite Meals May 28, 2012, 9:09 pm

    Nami, I really enjoyed this posting! The cherry blossoms are so beautiful, I can not believe how wonderful your neighborhood looked, so envious!

    I also loved how the Japanese chefs take care of food making and presentation, this is something I can tell from the way you prep your meals, as you can see from my photos, the skill is something I totally lack of! By the time I finish cooking, Trinity’s circling around so there’s literally about 30-60 seconds to plate and take photo, not that I mind, what Mom doesn’t love having her food appreciated right?

  • Purabi Naha May 28, 2012, 10:39 pm

    Oh, that cherry blossom storm was so amazing….For a moment I was transformed to a different world! And you have such a sweet family, Nami. Your kids look so cute in Kimonos!

    Those dishes look so authentic and flavourful…I have started eating sashimis and sushis now and love the taste.

  • Sanjeeta kk May 29, 2012, 1:13 am

    Love the clicks under the cherry blossoms..and Mwah to the kids!

  • Maja May 29, 2012, 1:15 am

    Nami, oh wow, what a great trip you have! Love these cherry blossoms, looks amazing! i really want to visit Japan someday, I really enjoy in this post :)

  • Priscilla @ShesCookin May 29, 2012, 8:17 am

    The photos of your children in traditional dress are adorable – it is certainly one they will appreciate forever! My daughter loves unagi and I will be referring to your posts when I travel to see her later this year – too bad it won’t be cherry blossom season.

  • Vijitha May 29, 2012, 11:21 am

    Lovely collection of photos Nami. I just went through your entire series on Japan trip. I am sure you will know this, the cherry blossom tress ( I forgot the Japanese name), when they flowers it signifies the onset of spring. We found a lot of cherry blossom flowers in Feb/March and our friend enlightened me about that. If I ever plan a trip to Japan, I know whom to ask for guidance :-)

  • Hannah May 29, 2012, 12:06 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading your posts about Japan, Nami! Thank you for sharing your experiences and lovely photos – what a beautiful family! My son visited Japan last summer with his Japanese class (8th grade). He was in Kyoto and Kanazawa and stayed with a host family. Such a marvelous experience for him! And he introduced us to okonomiyaki when he got home. We love it!

  • Lilly May 29, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Gosh Nami your kiddies look sooooo cute in their outfits! You must be very proud.
    And the food…only the food would be enough for me to make a trip to Japan. I’ve always said one day…and of course when the cherry trees are blossoming…

  • elisabeth@foodandthrift May 29, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Hi Nami- your photos of your trip is mesmerizing, and oh so, beautiful. Can’t believe all the amazing appetizers featured, that I have never even seen before, not alone…tried it.
    Your children look like incredible little dolls in their Kimono…just so gorgeous!
    So sorry for not visiting your blog lately, but I’ve had such a difficult few weeks, and it has not been easy for me. I am posting your blog on my blog list, so I can just glance to see your latest post!

  • jack May 29, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Hi Nami – I’ve really enjoyed all your Japan posts, they’ve been really great and very interesting! The photos of your kids in kimono are so cute and will be great to look back on in the years ahead :)

  • Tiffany Naeole May 29, 2012, 9:53 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your trip. It seems that I was there at around the dame time as you. I was there from April 2 – April 14 and I miss it already. It was my first cherry blossom experience and it was truly something I will treasure. I too loved the blueberry cheesecake kit kat when I was there. I am happy to continue my Japan experience through your website and recipes. Thank You <3

    • Nami June 2, 2012, 1:14 am

      My email to you bounced back so let me respond here:

      Hi Tiffany,

      We were very lucky that this year Sakura bloomed later than usual. I was worried initially that I won’t be able to make it in time but it was PERFECT! Even though I go home once a year it’s rare that I could get to see Sakura. :-) I hope you had a wonderful trip in Japan.

      Thanks for writing. :-)

  • Jenny May 30, 2012, 3:52 am

    Thank you Nami, doe a wonderful read. I plan to take all your blogs with me when I visit Japan, so I can have exactly what you had!!! Great pics, but most especially your kids in traditional outfits. Just too sweet. I felt a bit sad seeing your last pics of Tokyo Bay. I bet you did too.

  • Denise Browning@frombraziltoyou May 30, 2012, 5:55 am

    Beautiful pictures and gorgeous children! So glad that you got to visit your country again, Nami… I know how homesick one can get. I so miss Brazil, my homeland!

  • Lori Lynn May 30, 2012, 7:28 am

    Oh Nami – there is so much to love about this post, starting the those absolutely daring photos of your children. And a restaurant that specializes in unagi, I never knew one existed. You really make me want to travel to Japan, are you working for the tourism board? :)

  • Tiffany May 30, 2012, 11:42 am

    Thank you for sharing all of your adventures with us Nami! HUGS to you!

  • Jackie | Sweet and Salty SF May 30, 2012, 9:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing your trip! The cherry blossoms look so beautiful! And how delicious does the unagi look? I feel like I will be blown away when I try all the fresh foods that Japan has to offer. Also, your children’s pictures are adorable!

  • Beth Michelle May 31, 2012, 12:13 am

    Your posts have me planning my trip to Japan even though Im due Oct 1 so Im not sure when I will get there!! Another great post Nami! The cherry blossom trees!!! Oh how I would love to see those one day. Those photos of your kids are too cute!! Sounds like such a fabulous trip.

  • Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan May 31, 2012, 6:28 pm

    Dear Nami,

    Where do I even start?? Japan is such a beautiful country with such a rich history and culture. Apart for the delicious and healthy foods like sushi, hot steaming ramen, yakiniku and teppanyaki, I know I would love to visit the parks, cherry blossoms, gardens and of course my favourite bonsai nurseries. The tuna sashimi looks so fresh and I can tell it’s definitely a little more fatty and delicious than the usual bright red lean tuna sashimi. Beautiful post!

  • FreeSpiritEater June 1, 2012, 10:22 am

    I could look through your photos all day! They always bring me to another world Nami. Gorgeous photography as always, have a good one <3

  • Alli@peasepudding June 2, 2012, 3:33 am

    I love Japanese eel, I have only been to Japan once on our honeymoon and loved it and would certainly like to go back. It’s such a beautiful place, wonderful people, food and culture. Lovely to find your blog via Raymund and thanks for stopping by.

  • ちびか〜ちゃん June 2, 2012, 9:09 am




  • Mary June 3, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Nami, those cherry blossoms in the first pictures are just gorgeous! And the tokyo skyline would take my breath away in person. All of the foods sound so different from everything I’ve ever tried before. I would love to try them at least once!

  • Quay Po Cooks June 3, 2012, 10:19 pm

    Unagi is my son’s favorite. Going to Japan is his dream. I hope he will go soon and get to see the cherry blossoms. Thanks sharing your trip back home with us.

  • Nancy/SpicieFoodie June 4, 2012, 11:00 am

    I cannot wait to go visit Japan. Hopefully we’ll time it during the cherry blossom season. Thanks for sharing another great travel journal. Your children are adorable:)

  • Lee June 11, 2012, 9:47 am

    Your pictures are wonderful! Thanks for informing us about unagi-one of my favorites!

  • Pricilia February 3, 2013, 6:49 pm

    Your pictures of Unaju is very mouthwatering haha..I hope one day I’ll have a chance to eat Unaju in Japan :) Btw, your kids look so lovely wearing Japanese traditional outfit!

  • Jeanna February 2, 2014, 11:49 am

    Hi, I just discovered your blog recently, I love your recipes too! I really enjoyed looking at all your pictures of Japan & reading about it. I was only there once, and for such a short time, I didn’t get to see much. I wish I could have seen the cherry blossoms, but I was there in November (still beautiful though). The pictures of your kids in the traditional outfits were SO CUTE!!!

    • Nami February 3, 2014, 10:08 pm

      Hi Jeanna! Thank you so much for your kind comment! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the posts. :) Hope you can visit Japan again. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons in Japan. :)