MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 15: Lake Yamanaka, Yamanakako

Yamanakako is a quaint mountain town, around one of Mt. Fuji’s 5 lakes, Yamanaka. It’s a must visit when traveling to Japan! I stayed here 4 days when I ran the Sponichi Half Marathon.

The bus from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji station is a scenic 3 hours. You can expect views of farms and rice patties – quite the contrast from bustling Tokyo. I was traveling alone, and although nerves almost got the best of me, the entire ride was easy to figure out, safe, and quiet.

I hope you don’t hesitate traveling across Japan on a bus or train — it’s easy to figure out and everyone is immensely helpful if you get into a situation where you need assistance.

Oh, and can we just talk about how breathtaking Mt. Fuji is?!

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 13: Hedgehog Cafe Yokohama


SPOILER ALERT: this cafe also had Meerkats!

To be honest, I don’t like when animals are commercialized. But, I will say, this Hedgehog Cage is immensely clean and very careful on how guests handle the hedgehogs and meerkats.

When you first walk in an employee sits with you and explains the hedgehog personality, and the correct way to handle them. They sit with you for a while to make sure you’re doing it right. Not only that, the staff walks around the entire time making sure the animals are safe, and being handled adequately. I appreciated the educational aspect of the entire experience.

If you’re in Yokohama, you definitely don’t want to miss this Hedgehog Cafe. Admission includes a drink of your choice, leather gloves, and 1 hour of Hedgehogs and Meerkats.

You can check out this photo of Tim Ferris visiting a Hedgehog Cafe while in Tokyo!

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 12: Little Details in Yokohama

Japan is filled with little details. I’d say it’s one of the most charming aspects about their culture.

There are many things I saw in Yokohama that don’t fit into a specific category, so I’m sharing them together here.

Treasures such as an elaborately designed manhole cover, a doggy water bowl holder designed into the side of a wall, clever street art, or walking through a neighborhood and running into a park.

Cheers to the little things!

可愛い   Kawaii  (cute in Japanese)


MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 11: Cat Cafe Yokohama

Remember my post about my grandmother’s goat farm in Venezuela?

or, my post about visiting the Owl Cafe in Asakusa, Japan ?

Or, my post about working with Owls at a Nature Preserve?

So, you better believe I was excited to visit the Cat Cafe in Yokohama. It was clean and well designed. The kittens looked happy and healthy.

The business model is simple. You pay for the time you want to spend at the cafe. The cost includes a cup of vending machine coffee, slippers, and access to a lockable cubby for your belongings. (A note about the vending machine coffee, it’s surprisingly delicious! The Japanese have mastered vending machines. More on that later).

ネコ  Neko  –  (cat in Japanese)

MY TRIP TO JAPAN! PART 10: Meals in Yokohama

I’m eternally curious about what people eat when they travel, so I’m including this post for those of you who are as well.

Before traveling to Japan I had a perception that the food would be mostly raw fish, and they do serve it, but I found their food options to be much more diverse than I expected. I eat a primarily whole food plant based diet, so as you can see I ate veggies, ramen, soba, and rice snacks.

Here are some things I learned:
Use the bib if you’re given one. It really will protect your clothes.
Slurping your noodles is not optional, but encouraged.
Check to see the restaurant menu has pictures, or ask to see if they have an English menu.

頂きます itadakimasu (non-literal translation of bon appétit!)