Capture Tokyo: Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba Beach

Odaiba is by far my favorite place to relax in Tokyo. The man-made island is known as somewhat of a date spot among locals, so you can often find young families or couples strolling around the area. The island is filled with many tourist attractions, including Joypolis (an indoor amusement park), the Fuji Television Building, Palette Town, Venus Fort, Aqua City, and Diver City (mostly shopping malls).

There’s so much to do in Odaiba, but my main reason for frequenting the area is because of its gorgeous night views! It also has the closest “beach” to where I live, Odaiba beach. I say “beach” lightly because we can’t actually swim in the water due to all the pollution. In my opinion, this beach offers one of the best scenic views of the Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay (it’s also a beautiful place to watch the sunset… quite romantic)! The suspension bridge connects the Shibaura Pier to Odaiba, and you can actually bike or walk over the bridge (about 1.7 km). The Yurikamome train line also passes over the bridge, starting from Shimbashi Station and ending Toyosu Station. It’s illuminated from dusk till midnight, so I would definitely recommend viewing the Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba beach as it looks absolutely stunning at night!

Capture Japan: Karuizawa

Karuizawa, Nagano

I know summer is creeping up on us already, so I wanted to post about a famous resort area in Japan that I recommend visiting! Karuizawa is a quaint city located in Nagano Prefecture (about 1hr away via Shinkansen). Many famous celebrities are known for frequenting the area… such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono as well as other Japanese celebrities. The luxury inns or ryokan in Karuizawa offer beautiful private villas for its upper class customers. Many of the buildings look distinctly European or Japanese, so the city has a very unique appeal and aesthetic.

Karuizawa is most popular in the summer due to its cool and breezy weather and lush greenery. In the 1900s, many wealthy merchants who owned ritzy boutiques in Ginza would set up second stores in Karuizawa in the summer to escape the scorching hot weather in Tokyo (hence the old shopping area in Karuizawa was named “Ginza” after its Tokyo counterpart). However, the newer area of Karuizawa, south of the station, is host to a brand new outlet shopping mall, which includes all the luxury European designers (Prada, Saint Laurent, Gucci, etc.). Aside from shopping, there are many hikes, golf courses, and other activities tourists can partake in!

While I wasn’t able to visit Karuizawa in the summer, I did get the chance to go this past February. During the winter, the city turns into a ski resort with relaxing hot springs or onsens! We ended up staying at one of the Prince Hotels (which is a Western Style Hotel). The hotel had a shuttle that would take us from the hotels (West, East, and Villa, The Prince, and Asama, I think) to the ski area, shopping mall, and station, so it was incredibly convenient. Although the winter scenery was beautiful, I would love to visit this city again during summer if I get the chance. Any chance to escape the summer heat!

Capture Japan: Uchiura

Uchiura Gulf, Shizuoka

Although I definitely consider myself a city girl, Japan never ceases to amaze me with the beauty of its nature! Last November I was lucky enough to travel to Uchiura, a small town in Shizuoka prefecture, for work and it was absolutely gorgeous. Although it took about 3-4 hours to reach the small town of Uchiura, riding along the coast of the Uchiura Gulf was an amazing site to see, especially at dusk! Across the gulf, we could see a stunning view of Mt. Fuji (unfortunately it was a little cloudy when I took the picture). The gulf is apparently one of the few places in Japan where you can view Mt. Fuji from across the water! The small town is mainly known for its fishing and its orange orchards, and i’s also famous from the anime, Love Live! I’ve never actually heard of this show, until I visited this town; however, it seems to be quite popular! I would definitely check it out if you’re ever in Shizuoka!