Moon Beach Hotel, Okinawa

Moon Beach hotel in Okinawa extremely relaxing, set against azure waters and coral reef with a lovely white sand beach and two different pools.
Entrance to the beach
I'm lucky enough to live in an area of Okinawa surrounded by resort hotels. Although I don't get to stay at these hotels, I do sometimes like to take advantage of their facilities. The resort hotel closest to me is Moon Beach. Recently they opened a new lagoon pool and it is absolutely gorgeous! Usually I prefer going to the beach (salt water! snorkelling!), but every now and again I get persuaded by little G to go to the pool.

A couple of weekends ago, the weather was amazing, so we headed up to road to the Moon Beach pool. Because we were not guests at the hotel, we had to pay for parking and pool entry (500yen each) but it's worth it. There are 2 pools and the beach. The semi-indoor pool is good on a rainy day, and has a childrens pool as well. The outdoor lagoon pool is the nicer and newer of the two, but is more laid back, and you kind of need to keep more control of your children. Both pools are surrounded by sun lounges, and during the morning there was a nice bit of shade covering the lagoon pool if you are worried about getting sunburned. One other thing I really liked was the free kids arm floaties you could just borrow, which was handy because we forgot ours.

As for the beach, there are sun lounges and umbrellas but I think you need to pay for these, as well as floating rings for rent. There are also lifeguards at all the pools/beach. I noticed a beach bar near the lagoon pool, but it wasn't open when I was there (before midday), however, nothing is more resorty/relaxing than a cocktail by the pool! One last thing that I think is the icing on the cake is the relaxing hawaiian music playing near the pool. Perfect!

If you are coming to Okinawa, but can't afford the expensive resort hotel prices, you can always stay somewhere cheaper and just pay to use the facilities at the resorts. Moon Beach is definitely cheaper than some of the others (expect upwards of 2000yen per person at other places), but it's still lovely!

Lagoon pool
Moon Beach hotel in Okinawa extremely relaxing, set against azure waters and coral reef with a lovely white sand beach and two different pools.

Moon Beach hotel in Okinawa extremely relaxing, set against azure waters and coral reef with a lovely white sand beach and two different pools.

Moon Beach hotel in Okinawa extremely relaxing, set against azure waters and coral reef with a lovely white sand beach and two different pools.

Vines growing inside from the roof

Rainy shrine in Tokyo

One of the great things about mainland Japan, is no matter where you are staying, you're probably going to stumble across some temples and shrines. This is exactly what happened on our recent trip to Tokyo. Even though were staying in what seemed like a suburb completely full of love hotels, I also spotted a shrine across from the station. Of course, I needed to check it out.

Motomishima Shrine is located just near Uguisudani station, and even though the weather was horrible and rainy, I still went to have a look. The shrine was nothing spectacular, but there was no one else there and the gloomy, rainy weather was actually really nice.

I definitely recommend wandering around your accommodation neighbourhood. You never know what you might stumble across.

Motomishima is a little neighbourhood shrine near Uguisudani station in Tokyo
Stairs up to the shrine

Motomishima is a little neighbourhood shrine near Uguisudani station in Tokyo

The view from our Airbnb over the misty train tracks to the huge graveyard on the other side.

Love hotels in Tokyo

During our trip to Tokyo last week, we stayed in an area called Uguisudani. It was on the Yamanote line, in our price range, easy to get to from Narita Airport and close to Ueno (which has a lot to offer when travelling with small children), so we chose an Airbnb there. What I didn't realise when choosing our accom here, was that is was basically a whole suburb of love hotels. 

Anyone who's been to Tokyo, especially Shibuya, has probably walked past a love hotel or two. They're mostly recognisable by some gaudy lights and a sign out the front indicating the pricing by the hour (rather than a simple nightly rate, like any other normal hotel), and photos of the various themed rooms they have inside. When you go into a love hotel, you can either check into a room using a machine, or often if there is a reception counter with actual human staff, their faces and yours will be separated by a screen so you can keep your anonymity.

Anyway, if you've ever walked through Love Hotel Hill in Shibuya, Uguisudani was even more packed with love hotels. Our apartment building was only one of a few I saw in the whole neighbourhood. Everything else was love hotels.

I actually found it quite entertaining, watching the couples walking out, wondering what their story was. The names of the hotels were also hilarious. Most memorable was Oriental Passage, P-Door and C Heaven. Use your imagination kids!

Love hotels in tokyo
3 love hotels

Add caption

You can find love hotels in most places in Tokyo. Look for the signs out the front with the hourly rates.
The love hotels have signs out the front showing what the rooms look like.
Love hotels

Some izakayas and love hotels

Ain Soph Ripple - Vegan burgers in Tokyo

Ain Soph Ripple vegan burgers in Tokyo
The entrance to Ain Soph Ripple
So as most of you know, i'm not vegan, or really even vegetarian, but I do live with a vegetarian (so eat vegetarian 95% of the time) and have many a vegetarian and vegan friend. For these reasons, and the fact that I LOVE planning holiday itineraries, I am always on the look out for the best vegan places to eat, which is how I came across Ain Soph Ripple.

This past weekend, I was in Tokyo with some vegan friends, and I wanted to give them the best Tokyo experience possible. I had heard about the Ain Soph restaurants and wanted to get to at least one of them. I decided on Ripple, because who doesn't love a good dirty burger, and these looked the business!

Ain Soph Ripple menu
The menu <3
We arrived there at around 12:15, and were lucky to grab a table (we were a group of 6), even though it's a pretty small place. The menu isn't huge, which I liked, so we decided on the cheese burger and the crispy "chicken" burger. Everything on the menu is vegan, even though it sounds like it isn't.

The burgers were tasty and I really loved the fries. The vegan cheese they used was really good. it was really melty like real cheese. If you're a vegan and looking for some junk food, I think it's worth the effort to get here, although I wasn't completely blown away by the burgers, which is probably just because we had eaten at Gub Gubs here in Okinawa a few days before, which makes probably the best burgers i've ever had (and that's including meat burgers too!).

Vegan Cheese burger and cheese fries at Ain Soph Ripple
Cheese burger and cheese fries

Vegan crispy chicken burger at Ain Soph Ripple
Crispy Chicken burger
Ain Soph ripple was easy to find. The closest station is Shinjuku San-chome on the Tokyo Metro Maronouchi and Fukutoshin lines however, it as also a short walk from Shin Okubo on the Yamanote line, if like me you were with small children and didn't want to change trains.


Ain Soph Ripple, vegan burgers in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Tokyo nights, Tokyo lights

View from the Shinagawa Prince hotel Annex Tower 26 floor
View of Shinagawa from my hotel room on the 26th floor

One of the things I love most about Tokyo, and I think is what people imagine Japan is like before they've ever been, are the bright neon lights everywhere. Of course, even though I was super tired when I got to Tokyo on the end of my work trip, I still couldn't resist taking myself out at night to Shibuya to gaze in awe at the lights and people. Another great thing about this was that I got to take a few people who had never been to Tokyo before to Shibuya crossing, and it made me so happy to see their faces as we walked out and saw the lights and hear their exclamations of how amazing it was! This is why I really should be a Japan (especially Tokyo) tour guide! It makes me happy :)

The bright lights of Shibuya are a must see for any visitor to Tokyo
Shibuya Crossing
Giant gundam statue in Odaiba, Tokyo
Giant Gundam statue in Odaiba

The lights are so bright in Shibuya at night it almost feels like daytime

Typical Tokyo night scene - Shibuya