rachelemilywalker These bear statues are everywhere in Japan. Some googling revealed his name is Tanuki, and he's a welcoming figure, usually depicted with a big tummy, giant balls, straw hat, sake flask, promissory note, and goofy look on his face. We took to calling him "the nipple bear" for obvious reasons. 1d

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rachelemilywalker Barrels of sake stacked high at Meiji shrine as an offering from the national sake association to honor Emperor Meiji. Every year new barrels are offered. 1d

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rachelemilywalker The traditional Japanese kaiseki dinner served by our ryokan hosts in Tsumago, Japan. Whole salted river trout, tempura vegetables, miso soup, ginger clams, sashimi, a variety of pickled and marinated veggies, and teriyaki crickets. Breakfast the next morning was just as stellar. Such a cool opportunity to try things I would never have ordered myself. 1d
  •   edia_maps Wow, how was everything, especially the crickets?! 1d
  •   rachelemilywalker @edia_maps Crickets were not bad at all! I mixed them with some rice to help me get past the texture, which was the biggest hurdle. The salted fish was amazing. 3h
  •   edia_maps Crunchy, I'm assuming? I have a fascination with eating bugs, though I've never tried any. I want to visit Oaxaca for the giant ants that are served as a bar snack. Well, and for the mezcal. Other cultures' food is so interesting! 3h

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rachelemilywalker In the post town of Tsumago, shops shut down around 4p. Locals headed home and visitors turned in for dinner at their ryokans, leaving the idyllic streets empty for us to stroll and take tons of pictures. 1d

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rachelemilywalker These two gentlemen were standing next to us on a subway line in Tokyo. After the train hadn't moved for several minutes (which is extremely rare in Japan) they leaned over and asked if we spoke English, then let us know the train wasn't moving because somebody had fallen on the tracks at the stop ahead of us 😧 They were headed the same direction as us so offered to show us an alternate train to take. We ended up comparing pics of our families and talking - guy on left had a daughter and granddaughter in Seattle and guy in the middle was 70-something and had pics with Magic Johnson and both president Bushes. They showed us all the way to the famous Hachiko dog statue at Shibuya crossing just to make sure we found it. I love Japan 2d

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rachelemilywalker We found a Belgian beer bar in Shinjuku and ordered the bacon appetizer, which turned out to be the thickest slices of bacon I've seen in my life. More like a bacon steak 😯 2d

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rachelemilywalker At Meiji shrine in Tokyo, where Emperor Meiji's soul is enshrined for eternity, there is the largest torii gate in the country composed solely of wood. 2d

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rachelemilywalker Paint color options for custom bikes at Bluelug bike shop in Tokyo. 2d

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rachelemilywalker The line for @bluebottle in Omotesando, Tokyo. Japan is nuts for coffee! 2d

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rachelemilywalker We stumbled upon a bunny owner meetup before finding a soon-to-open Tartine and Blue Bottle shop in Daikanyama, Tokyo. It doesn't get much more hipster than that. 2d

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rachelemilywalker Omotesando, Tokyo 3d
  •   saltwatermermaid Looks like y'all are having a blast! Loving your insta-documentation 3d

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rachelemilywalker On the Nakasendo Trail bears are apparently a serious concern. There are bells about every half a mile with instructions to "ring the bell hard against bears." Some local hikers even wear bear bells on their packs. We didn't see any though 4d

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rachelemilywalker The photo games were strong on the Nakasendo trail. 4d

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rachelemilywalker At the start of our 7.6km hike from Magome to Tsumago, two preserved Edo era post towns. The trail runs along the Nakasendo Highway, the old route travelers followed between Tokyo and Kyoto. 5d

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rachelemilywalker Nishiki Market in Kyoto. I bought fresh Unagi sushi and ate it on the spot at that tiny table in the back of the fish prep area. 5d

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rachelemilywalker On the way to our ryokan's onsen, or Japanese hot spring bath. Our ryokan in Hakone had four options: private onsen in our house (yes, we had a whole little cabin to ourselves), family onsen where a group can go privately, public indoor onsen gender separated, and public outdoor onsen gender separated. I wasn't allowed in the public ones since I have a tattoo 1w

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rachelemilywalker Our ryokan, aka traditional Japanese inn, in Hakone was pretty much paradise. 1w

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rachelemilywalker Amazing coffee shop in Kyoto called % Arabica, where we enjoyed our third coffees of the day, got beans roasted on the spot, and compared photos with the barista and a local photographer who stopped in. 1w

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rachelemilywalker We unexpectedly got an amazing view of Fuji-san, usually shrouded in mist, on a train to cable car to ropeway gondola ride from Hakone to Lake Ashi in Japan. 1w

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rachelemilywalker We caught the tail end of Sakura season. 1w

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