Photo Tour: Batman goes to Japan

October 23, 2018
Posted in Asia, Fun, Japan
October 23, 2018 Hilary

Photo Tour: Batman goes to Japan

It’s been over four years since we visited Japan, the trip of our dreams, and we can’t stop talking about it. We’ve since been on many other amazing adventures, but we all agree that our visit to Japan was one of the most magical family vacations we’ve ever been on.


Kyoto Japan

We sampled unique foods, slept in a ryokan, did our best to try and speak some Japanese and learned about as many of the local customs and cultural differences that we could. We spent every moment of each day transfixed and fascinated by everything we saw, experienced and tasted. We left knowing that this was a place we’d find our way back to…

Bentendo Temple Tokyo Japan #misogi

Performing Misogi at the “temizuya” water pavilion

I’m not sure if our visit to Japan fell during a sweet spot in the boy’s lives when they were still very open to new experiences and travel with the parents, but we all wholeheartedly  embraced every aspect of our visit

The kids are older now and it’s harder to get them excited (at least about traveling with us), but back then we discovered that one way to get them engaged was to bring a “friend” and by friend I mean a Batman Lego figurine I happened to find in my bag while waiting to board the airplane.

Batman is ready for his flight to Tokyo Japan

Batman is ready for his flight to Tokyo Japan

On a whim I decided to take a photo of our stow-a-way Batman atop our little one’s Batman suitcase, and from that moment on, he became our constant companion. The boys loved posing him in different situations, costumes and locations and he became the mascot of our trip.

Hello Kitty display Fushimi Inari Taisaha Kyoto Japan

Hello Kitty outside a shrine in Kyoto Japan

At times we wondered if posing him in certain places might be disrespectful, and we did our best to gauge the situation. We noticed that Hello Kitty was prominently featured everywhere we went, even in places that felt more sacred, and so took our cues from local culture.

Batman Goes to Japan

Thanks to jet lag Batman was up with the sun, and so were we, but with a view this spectacular we were hardly complaining. Our room was on the 43rd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, which is located in Shinjuku’s second tallest building.

Like many visitors to Tokyo we made a trip to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. We spent the morning exploring all the different offerings, fish of course, but also spices, dried goods, vegetables, flowers, housewares and more.

Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo Japan

Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo Japan

After seeing all that fresh fish for sale we were eager to try some ourselves. We found a small sushi restaurant within the fish market where we sampled exotic flavors including urchin and roe.

Located in the Asakusa district the Senso-ji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest temple. The approach leading up to the entrance of the temple is called Nakamise-dori and it is lined with souvenir shops selling everything you could ever imagine.

Senso-Ji Temple Asakusa Tokyo Japan

Senso-Ji Temple Asakusa

The Temple itself is beautiful and surrounded by many other places of interest, but this is a very popular tourist destination and with more than 30 million visitors each year you can expect it to be extremely crowded.

The Meiji Shrine is located adjacent to Yoyogi Park in Shibuya. Built in 1920 the Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

Meiji Shrine Shibuya Tokyo Japan

Meiji Shrine Shibuya Tokyo Japan

Once you’ve visited the shrine take some time to explore the surrounding gardens, which have many things to see as well including, a tea garden, royal fishing ponds, and the largest Otorii Gate in Japan.

We loved our visit to the food stalls within Ueno Park and with so many unique and delicious options we were hard pressed to decide.

Food Stalls in Ueno Park Tokyo #uenopark

Food Stalls in Ueno Park Tokyo

We ate everything from corn on the cob and onigiri to octopus and yakisoba before running out of money. Keep in mind that many places in Japan don’t take debit or credit cards.

The Bentendo Temple is located on an island in Shinobazu pond within Ueno Park and is dedicated to the Goddess of good fortune wealth, music and knowledge.

Also Within Ueno Park is the face of what was once a very large statue of Buddha. This is the second great Buddha to stand in this spot, the first was destroyed in an 1647 earthquake.

Ueno Park Buddha Tokyo Japan

Ueno Park Buddha Tokyo Japan

In 1923 the second one was also heavily damaged in an earthquake. With the exception of the face the rest of the statue was melted down to make weapons during WWII.

Springtime in Japan is breathtaking. The branches are bursting with millions of fluffy pink and white cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms Ueno Park Tokyo Japan

Cherry Blossoms Ueno Park Tokyo Japan

As many as two million people come to see the blossoms each year. This activity is called Hanami which literally translates to “flower viewing” and is a popular activity both during the day and at night.

Cherry Blossoms Gion District Kyoto Japan #kyoto

Gion District Kyoto Japan

Famous for the literally thousands of vermilion torii gates, which line it’s pathways, Fushimi Inari-Taisha, is one of the 80,000 Shinto shrines throughout Japan.

Fushimi Inari Taisha Kyoto Japan

Fushimi Inari Taisha Kyoto Japan

The walk to the top of Inari Mountain takes around two hours and while it is a steady climb it’s not terribly difficult. Along the way there are a few places to stop and get a bite to eat or a drink.

Tofukuji Temple is the oldest and largest Zen temple in Japan and there is a different type of garden represented on each side of the building. I would love to come back one day too see the autumn leaves for which it is so well known for.

Tofukuji Temple Kyoto Japan #tofukujitemple

Tofukuji Temple Kyoto Japan

It’s no surprise that Kinkaku-ji Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Japan. Not only is it located in a beautiful setting, but the top two floors of the building are covered in gold leaf.

Kinkakuji Kyoto Japan

Kinkakuji Kyoto Japan

There are more than 5.5 million vending machines in Japan. That’s one vending machine per every 23 people. Most of them sell drinks, but you can buy just about anything from them, including bread.

As we often do when traveling with the boys we visited the zoo. We had a nice afternoon and saw quite a few animals that we’ve never seen in any western zoos.

Kit Kat bars are the number one candy in Japan. The name Kit Kat sounds very similar to a Japanese saying, “Kitto Katsu” or “Kitto Katto,” which is a good luck term meaning “you will surely win” and it is often said to students before a big exam. The Kit Kat bar is so popular that a Kit Kat shop was opened in the Tokyo department store Seibu.

Batman joined us for all our activities throughout the trip, from getting some shut-eye and doing our laundry to riding the subway, eating traditional foods, drinking sake and swimming in the hotel pool.

Batman Orders Room Service at the Peninsula Hotel Tokyo Japan #origami

Batman Orders Room Service at the Peninsula Hotel Tokyo Japan

What do you do to keep your kids engaged while traveling? Have you ever brought along a “friend?” Let me know in the comments below. If you’re interested in learning more about our adventures in Japan you can read about them in these other posts:

Japan Tips For First Time Visitors
Japan Adventures in Cuisine
Japan Three days in Kyoto
Japan Tokyo No Wasabi Kudasai
Japan Kawaii Means Cute & Other Japanese Cultural Phenomena
 Japan Tokyo A City of Many Contrasts
Japan Experiencing Hanami

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Batman goes to Japan with the kids

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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and they are, at the ages of 13 and 18, world travelers and all around go along guys. There isnt anywhere I cant take them. It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things Ive learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (34)

  1. Your trip to Japan looks quite comprehensive. The ‘batman’ is very well travelled. I love the shrines, especially your prespective looking down the row of gates at Fushimi Inari-Taisha.

    • Hilary

      We did well considering we only had 10 full days, but I definitely want to find my way back!

  2. What an incredibly adorable idea! Makes for some great photos, too. I’m absolutely dying to visit Japan… those cherry blossoms are the stuff of dreams! And don’t get me started with the food… Thanks for sharing your awesome trip! #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Thank you! It was a whim, but worked so well the entire trip! Funny enough the next time we vacationed people wondered where Batman was… Japan is an absolute dream destination!

  3. I love your Batman pics, so funny! What a fantastic trip to take your boys on. I’m looking forward to taking my boys on further flung adventures. I love that the Japanese have a word for blossom admiring. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Thank you! It was such a fantastic adventure! Our boys are still talking about it. The blossom viewing was one of the most magical travel moments we’ve ever had. At the end of the season they fall from the trees like snow.

  4. Haha! Awesomesauce. “I only work in black. Or very dark grey.” We love Lego Batman! Although I think my older teens might be mortified by my suggestion that we take our along. What a dreamy trip for you all. Would LOVE to do Japan. Someday! Thanks for sharing your fabulous photos and upbeat energy with #FarawayFiles. Cheers from Denmark.

    • Hilary

      I’m pretty sure my teen would be mortified now, but this was years ago, so it worked wonders! These days we can hardly get him to stay in the same room. Ha ha! It was such a dreamy trip I hope to return sooner than later.

  5. Awesome way of getting your kids engaged and excited in the trip! My brother just got back from Japan a couple of weeks ago and he went to a few of the same places that you guys did. I’m so jealous, Japan is on my bucket list now. #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      Thanks! They really loved this activity. Japan is truly magical I hope you make it there someday.

  6. We took a school teddy bear which belonged to my teacher sister in law on a 6 month trip around South America. We photographed him everywhere and sent pictures back to her to share with her class. ‘Teddy on tour’!! Oh wow Japan. It looks so fascinating and is getting ever closer to the top of my travel wish list. This post really gives a lovely flavour of what to expect (without without batman!!)

    • Hilary

      Did you write about it? If so, I’d love to see the photos. Sounds like an amazing adventure! Thank you! Japan is so fascinating and fascinating and so different than what we are used to.

  7. What a fun way to get your boys excited about traveling, and what a different view point it offers us. Japan through the eyes of Batman haha – and I seriously need to check out the temple with gold leaf floors! That must’ve been awesome! #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      They really loved it! I think they might throttle me now, though then again maybe not? It was pretty fun!

  8. It looks like Batman had a fabulous time in Japan! I love hearing about Japan, it’s one place I would have loved to visit, my older kids began being interested in Japan many years ago and we love the food. My eldest daughter speaks Japanese and I know she will visit one day. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your posts when I have a little more time.

    • Hilary

      Thank you! So nice to be included in #blogcrush He sure did and so did the rest of us! The food was delicious everywhere we went and a highlight of the trip!

  9. This must be the luckiest Batman figurine ever! How wonderful that a forgotten find kept the kids engaged during the entire trip. Your pictures are gorgeous! Japanese culture has always intrigued me. Now that my kids have come at an age where they’ll appreciate the cultural aspect just as much, I can’t wait to plan a family trip to Japan. Your tips are a source of inspiration. I’m torn between a trip in spring (blossoms) or one in fall (foliage), though. What’s your take? #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      Hmm, now that I’ve been during cherry blossom season I’d love to see the fall foliage, however, if you’ve never been it’s hard to say. I’m guessing both seasons are equally beautiful, however the fall leaves might last longer giving you a bit more flexibility for trip planning… we really loved learning about the cultural difference and participating when appropriate. I know none of us will ever forgot this trip.

    • Hilary

      Thank you! I hope you make it there someday! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

  10. Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    I’m scribbling madly here – making a note of all these fabulous temples that you and Batman visited!
    We’re going to be in Japan next Autumn so I will take time to read through all your Japan posts to get some tips.

    • Hilary

      Oh! I’d love to go back in Autumn! How wonderful! I’ve written a number of posts, but will also look forward to reading about your experiences! It’s high time for us to get back there… this time I’d also love to head south possibly all the way to Okinawa.

  11. Japan is one country that is creeping higher and higher on our travel list, it looks incredible. I used to work for a Japanese Bank, but unfortunately never had the chance to go on a business trip. I still can’t make my mind up whether to go in Spring or Autumn.
    Love your photos, batman’s a lucky man #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      I hope you get to go. I don’t think you can go wrong in either spring or autumn. I definitely want to go back there is so much more I’d like to see and the food was so good!

  12. Great reminder of how cool it is to travel in Japan, your photos are stunning. I unfortunately missed the cherry blossom so I’d really like to go back for that. Looks like batman had a great time too!

    • Hilary

      Thank you! We truly loved our Japan experience and hope to get back one day. Even though we were viewing them with thousands of other tourists the blossoms were so beautiful it was worth it. The kids are older now, so Batman will probably stay home next time… unless he decides to stowaway again.

  13. What a great idea. Batman looks like he’s had a great time. Your photographs are beautiful , Japan looks stunning!!
    Congratulations someone loved this post so much they added it to our #blogcrush linky

    • Hilary

      Thank you! We loved our adventures in Japan and I’m so honored to be included in the #blogcrush linkup!

  14. What a wonderful story, and one to share with your kids. We just came back from Australia with our two young daughters and it was great. Sometimes the best adventures you have are the ones you get to see through your child’s eyes. The photography in your article is really great. You should contact LEGO directly and see if they are interested in your work. Hope you will have a chance to travel to Japan again in the future (with the kids!)

    • Hilary

      Thank you! Japan is absolutely on my repeat list, but I’d also love to visit Australia one day…

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