Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Off-the-beaten-path of Japan

During spring break, my family and I went to Japan for the first time. When we were figuring out where we should visit, we knew we wanted to experience the usual city-life but also wanted to see what it would be like off-the-beaten-track, in areas that are more personal and quaint. We decided to work with a travel agent, so we could get the most out of the week-long trip. In total, we visited three different cities – Hakone, Shibuya and Kamakura. Coming home, I now have experiences I will never forget. Below are some special moments from our overseas trip.

Oshino Hakkai, Hakone.

The village of Oshino Hakkai has a gorgeous view of Mount Fuji, traditional Japanese architecture and amazing food. Walking up the traditional village on a hill, Hakone is home to more than 11,000 people. Every year, about 20 million people visit the small mountainside village. There were many things to love about Japan, but my favorite thing was trying different foods. One of the best foods I’ve tried was a mochi made from mugwort, a type of medicinal green plant, with an azuki bean filling, that you add spicy miso paste on top. The sweetness of the filling and the savory taste of the miso paste were the best combinations I’ve had. Another amazing thing I ate on my Hakone trip was peach matcha made in Hakone, using fresh spring water from a small fountain by Naka-ike. A fascinating thing I noticed about Hakone were the koi fish and ducks. All looked completely different than in Hawaii, healthy, pretty and with many different color variations.

Kamakura’s Oceanfront, Kanagawa.

Kamakura is a beautiful, calm beach town in Japan and a popular place for people to visit for a day trip. It is also one of the oldest towns in Japan, where the first samurai lived. Kamakura is also known for its pretty Buddhist temples and seafood. Shirasu was a very popular dish in Kanagawa. Shirasu is a two-centimeter long white fish that you eat in bulk and on top of rice. It is also eaten whole, since the bones are soft. I also encountered a large hawk population in Kamakura. Everywhere you go, you will see signs saying “watch out for hawks” or “do not leave food unattended.”

Plum Blossom Tree at Ueno Park, Taito City, Tokyo.

Seeing cherry blossoms for the first time was such a beautiful experience. Cherry blossoms provide a very important lesson, that life is short, so we should live it to its fullest. Once in bloom, cherry blossoms only last for two weeks, and then the flowers start to fall. There are many types of cherry blossoms: Kanzakura, Somei Yoshino, Ichiyo and many more. Ueno Park is known for its cherry blossom festival, held yearly, and more than 10 million people visit every year. My family really enjoyed seeing the cherry blossoms in bloom during our visit.

Shibuya, Tokyo Metropolis.

Shibuya is one of the busiest districts in all of Japan. It is known for the colorful billboards, the famous Shibuya crossing, restaurants and the shopping. In Shibuya, I saw many people who appeared to be the same age as me going to school, to restaurants and even to places with karaoke. Although it was more busy than other areas I visited, I still felt very safe. Shopping in Shibuya for clothes and skincare was very fun, too. One of the places we went to for brunch was a very popular donut shop called “I’m donut?” We waited in line for an hour and a half, and we all agreed, it was worth the wait. Their best flavors were the pistachio donut and the cacao donut.


About the Contributor
Keira Wheeler
Keira Wheeler, Reporter
Keira is a second-year Journalism student and a sophomore at the Academy. She hopes that she can use her love of writing to keep others informed on important events! Keira believes that in Journalism, if you work hard and hone your craft, you'll be rewarded with opportunities and connections that'll help you in the future.
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