Kamakura, May 2017

We took a day trip to Kamakura, which is a town in Kanagawa prefecture 1-hour train ride away from Tokyo Station.

First, we arrived at Kamakura Station around 11:10 and had lunch before it gets crowded. ROOFTOPS near the station was a hit (though you need to be prepared to get really messy!).


Avocado & grilled tomato burger at ROOFTOPS

Then, we strolled Komachi Dori Street to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (鶴岡八幡宮) Shrine.

From there, we walked more to see the bamboo grove in Hokokuji Temple (報国寺). The quiet zen garden was a nice contrast to the vivid shrine. Some bamboo shoots and young stalks

We took a local bus and Enoden train to the Great Buddha, then walked by the Yuigahama beach.

Kamakura has so many places you can easily visit within a day. We picked some of the major spots to visit since it was my first time there (Keita’s second), but it felt like I only saw a small portion of this old town. We kept walking around until it’s time to go home.

It’s a great destination to take a short trip to while in Tokyo. So much closer than Kyoto but you still get to see & learn the historical parts of Japan.

Kamakura Travel Guide (japan-guide.com)

Maine, Summer 2016

I think we picked the perfect timing for visiting my husband’s family this summer, avoiding the heat wave in Tokyo while getting only a couple of cloudy/rainy days.

Two of my favorite Instagram captures: at Sebago Lake and Popham Beach.


A post shared by Naoko Takano (@naokomc) on



A post shared by Naoko Takano (@naokomc) on

Our daughter loves playing in water – not just pools but lake and ocean too. She also had fun playing the piano, sitting in a car seat (for most of the time!), pretending to drive a fire truck at Portland Children’s Museum 🙂


Enoshima Walk & Aquarium

I went to Enoshima for the first time today. It’s a small island in Sagami Bay of Kanagawa. We met up with our friend on the way, who picked a nice cafe for lunch.

It got cold by the time we walked down to the bridge, so we decided to go to Shin Enoshima Aquarium (Enosui). Really enjoyed the jellyfish display, penguin feeding time, and huge aquarium full of native species.


March 2014 Photos

Collection of photos from last month.

It’s getting warmer in Tokyo – warm enough to enjoy ice cream outside 🙂
Toward the end of the month, we went for a walk to Inokashira Park 2-3 times a week to check out cherry blossoms.

At the beginning of the month, we had a family wedding reception with my parents, brother, Keita’s dad, and some of his relatives. I wore his aunt’s kimono.

A group of friends from Japanese WordPress community gave us really nice surprise gifts – flowers, boxes of baked goods, and message boards. The bouquets were the biggest ones I’ve ever received in my life.


Yakushima, Winter 2013-2014

After a few days in Kagoshima City, I spent a very relaxing new year holiday in Yakushima Island with Keita and my parents. Here are some photos I took during my 11-day stay.

Anbo River

On New Year’s Day, we went for a short hike in Yakusugi Land park.

Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen is a very rare natural spa spot, which is directly connected to the ocean. The sign says “no swimsuits allowed”!

Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen

We also went to see the banyan tree “gate” in Sarukawa and Ōko-no-taki & Torōki-no-taki Falls in the afternoon.

Some photos of Harutahama Beach where we went running. We got there at the perfect timing to see the sunset.

On the last night with my parents, we went to Sanpotei for dinner.

Flower at Sanpo Tei

More photos from this trip are in my Flickr set: Kagoshima & Yakushima 2013-2014 Winter


Kagoshima, December 2013

On our way to visit my family in Yakushima Island, we spent a couple of days in Kagoshima City.

Yamakataya department store across from the bus stop still had some holiday decorations a couple of days after Christmas.

Yamakata-ya Department Store in Kagoshima

On the next day, we went to Voilá Coffee in Dolphin Port. We’ve been ordering their coffee beans for the past few months based on recommendations made by Steve. The coffee shop isn’t large but they had a wide selection of their merchandise. They have 3 other shops around Kagoshima Prefecture.

Inoue Coffee Company Voilá

After strolling around the port area, we walked to the south east side of the city.

The statue of Saigō Takamori. He was “one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history,” a rebellious hero from Kagoshima.

Saigo Takamori Statue

A black cat and Kagoshima Modern Literature Museum building.

Black Cat in Kagoshima

We walked up Mt. Shiroyama.

It was a very cloudy day with some rain, but luckily we got to see most of Sakurajima Island without clouds from the top of the hill. We didn’t make it to Sakurajima Volcano this time but it’s only 15-minute ferry ride away.


That night, we had dinner with some of Kagoshima WordPress community members. Both the shochu and local food were really good – thanks, Nishimura-san, Niinuma-san and everyone who came over! I wish I could have stayed longer but I had to take an early morning boat the next morning because of the forecast.

I shot this blue & white lights in Tenmonkan Archade on the way to the hotel.

Blue Illumination in Tenmonakan Street


May Photos

Another set of random photos from last month. During the second half of May, I: had my birthday :), found a cute bakery/patisserie in the neighborhood, started growing some (more) herbs at home, and went out with friends for our biannual (-ish) dinner.