Sometimes a country is so wonderful that one date night won’t do. Such is the case with Japan, one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited, and the country my family had planned to see in 2020 and now is hoping to reach in 2022. Do you remember our first Japanese date night? Well, this time we wanted to do completely different activities, and even make it a bit easier on ourselves. (Yes, it’s the first date night with take-out. We cheated! Haha.)

The impetus for this second date night was a family virtual tour of Tokyo to help us prepare for the 2022 vacation. So we figured planning a date night around it would be just the thing to really get us excited. I hope you enjoy!

Japanese-Themed Date Night (V2)

Eat: Udon

If you live in Los Angeles, and you’ve never eaten amazing udon (Japanese noodles, normally served in soup), you’ve never been to Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo. When it’s open for dine-in, they make noodles right in front of you. However, even for take-out, it’s a real treat. We had a hard time deciding on two – the menu is massive and amazingly diverse – but ultimately chose one with sea urchin cream and salmon roe, and a second with spicy broth and ground pork. They were delicious!

How good do these look?

We also added some store-bought mango mochi for dessert.

While A and I both love cooking, sometimes a date night can be easier. For all of our date nights, if you want to enjoy some activities with take-out, please do so! We just hope you are inspired to make one night special every so often, discovering something new.

Visit: Tokyo

This was the reason for the date night. A couple months ago, I participated in a virtual tour of Dubrovnik, Croatia through a company called ToursByLocals. It was such a wonderful experience that I decided to treat my family (my mother and stepfather, and my sister and brother-in-law) to a similar experience in Tokyo. Our guide, Hideaki, used screen-sharing and digital resources to guide us through the top five Tokyo sites he would have shown us in person had we been able to be there. His resources were fun, ranging from short videos to photos to maps, taking us around his city.

Hideaki took us through the entrance to the Meiji-jingu Shrine before showing us a short video on how to clap to summon the spirits there!

An experience like this is not the same as traveling; I get that. But right now in the world, it’s the closest thing, and I am thrilled to be able to do it. We are picking a follow-up virtual tour to combine with a future date night now!

Watch: Lost in Translation

Some films are set in a location; others truly represent that location from a touristic point of view. Lost in Translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, is a film that anyone who has appreciation for Japanese culture as seen by Americans would love. It was especially wonderful to see so many of the spots Hideaki showed us come to life in the film!

Probably the most iconic shot from the film

This was a different sort of date night for us, one where we had to arrange very little, instead relying on experts (a guide or a restaurant) to do the hard work for us. It just goes to show that a travel-themed date night can be whatever you want it to be, and as much or as little active effort as you want to put in – or have time to put in. I hope it inspires you to take a trip via a date night of your own!

To read all of our travel-themed date nights, click here.

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