Already turned away from the first restaurant with forearms tapping together in an ‘x’ across their chest, six of us tentatively enter the next restaurant. Relieved, we are welcomed by an old man, grinning with “irashai” (welcome), and waved to a table.
As you may or may not have read in previous posts, we went to Japan in February. We spent 2/3 of our time on Hokkaido in Niseko and 1/3 in Tokyo. Skiing in Niseko required more warm layers, as the temps were 20-30's F. In Tokyo, the weather was much warmer in comparison, reaching the 40's F.
Scattered throughout Japan, onsens are natural hot spring waters used for bathing, relaxation and health benefits, through the absorption of essential minerals. Onsens are silent places, meant for relaxation. There are several types of onsens available, but they are generally gender segregated and nude.
This is our experience in an onsen in Akihabara, Tokyo.
We rented a car in Hokkaido, which was a wonderful way to see some of the island. This is a story of our actual rental experience, picking up the car and dropping the car off. There's a surprise twist at the end ... at least it was for us.
Part 2 of the ski and see itinerary focuses on Tokyo, where we spent 3.5 days. We visited Ameya-Yokocho, onsen, Meiji Shrine, Takeshita-Dori street, an Owl Garden, Harajuku district, Shibuya crossing, Golden Gai, Piss Alley, Asakusa, and the Imperial Palace Garden.
EDITED after the visit so you know what is real, what is useful, and what you can disregard ...
I was interested in putting this all in one easy-to-find place, so you'll only have to read 1 article instead of many. This is the research I did ahead of us going to Japan. Afterward (or during the trip) I will come back and mark which are useful and which were not.