August 9, 2016

7 Reasons Why Every Portlander Should Visit Tokyo

Japan is a bucket list travel destination for many, but the language and distance can be a massive barrier to entry. Fortunately, Portlanders have an advantage. Not only does PDX offer direct flights to Tokyo via Delta Airlines, but the extreme levels of “weird” to which Portland residents have grown accustomed makes Japan travel a breeze.

While the average American may struggle to move past the culture shock upon encountering Japan’s excessive politeness or shark fin-flavored ice cream, Portlanders won’t be fazed. Lucky you! Read on for seven other reasons Portlanders will love Tokyo.


  1. Animal spectacles: From owl cafes, to cat islands, to monkey parks, you name it, and Tokyo has it. The cat cafe trend, which has now taken root in Portland, began in Asia. Japan has since moved on to more cutting-edge ventures like hedgehog and owl cafes. Need to chill out after your flight? Relax at a bunny cuddling cafe19862664296_e0fd2e79d1_k
  2. Proximity to mountains: Just like home, Tokyo is a quick trip from gorgeous pastoral views. Although fabled Mt Fuji is only a 2 hour bullet train ride away, the lesser-known Mt. Takao (above) is a shorter 40 minute trip boasting beautiful seasonal foliage and a number of attractions sprinkled throughout the climb, accessible by trail or by chairlift. Fuji, in comparison, has been known to be more beautiful from a distance than it is up-close.    
  3. The food: Tokyo is one of a small handful of cities with a food scene that can rival Portland’s. Break free from the comfortable confines of Portland’s bacon-laden taste standards and try something new. From artisan tempura to a restaurant that serves food presented as miniature renditions of landscapes, Japan is full of unique culinary experiences that can’t be found elsewhere. Though you’ll only scratch the surface on your trip, start with this list for the strange, and this curation for the can’t-miss.  P1040797
  4. Bullet trains: Prepare to lose your love for downtown’s 25 mile-per-hour max trips forever. Japan’s fastest bullet trains operate at 200 mph. To put it in perspective: at these speeds, you could travel from Portland to Vancouver BC in an hour and a half!  463772843_ed27fc2363_o
  5. Dessert Buffets: This one kind of speaks for itself.             2380642075_2df6df199b_o (1)
  6. The Yomiuri Giants: Why not fly halfway across the world to take in 9 innings of America’s (and Japan’s) pastime? Keeping with American baseball tradition, Japan’s most successful team is no stranger to its fair share of scandals155439311_a073d9a899_o
  7. Outstanding toilets: No need to seek these out. No matter where you go to the bathroom in Japan, you’ll be reminded of how neglected your undercarriage is back home.             2872255067_d7ed533b1e_b

Photo credits, top to bottom:

21/07 by Janelle

View from the top by Hideo

Tempura by Jak Cadden

Shinkansen by Kaidohmaru

Berry Cafe Fruit Cakes by Hands off my Pho

Yomuiri Giants Game by Miki Hashimoto

Japanese Toilets by Brainwashers

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