Laura & Aaron’s Incredible Honeymoon in Japan & Europe

by | Honeymoons, Real Honeymoons,

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Ioannou
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We were lucky enough to go on two honeymoons. Our first getaway was to Japan for cherry blossom season and the second was to Europe. Ahh Europe! Always a good idea.

We decided to go to Japan to celebrate my 30th birthday. When we locked in our wedding date we said we would include this trip as our honeymoon. I’ve always wanted to see the cherry blossoms, so this was my main reason for traveling to Japan. Even though Aaron has travelled to Japan on numerous occasions, this was the first time he had been during this season. We knew we were guaranteed breath-taking scenery and amazing food.


We also spent a couple of days at a traditional Onsen in the town of Hakone. We spent the entire time in traditional Japanese robes, relaxing in the Onsen and experiencing amazing degustation menus.

Park Hyatt Tokyo was a real highlight for our Japan trip. Worth every penny …and some. When we arrived, we were upgraded to a suite that had amazing views overlooking the city of Tokyo. There was also a bouquet of white flowers and bottle of champagne waiting for us in our room. It was truly something special.

We wanted to make the most of our room so we headed upstairs to the New York Grill for dinner. The food was AHH-MAZING! We then had a glass (or bottle) of wine at the New York Bar whilst listening to jazz music and smoking a cigar. This was definitely a stay I will never forget.

HIROSHIMA

On our trip to Europe, it started off as a working holiday in Vienna and Zurich. Although it was strictly business, we were still able to sneak in a few wiener schnitzels and a trip to the opera/ballet.

We then headed off to Croatia, Sicily and Cyprus. Lazy mornings, afternoons at the beach and over indulging in local cuisine. We were lucky enough to visit Europe the previous year so we knew we had to go back to Croatia. The crystal blue waters, history, food and locals were the main reasons for returning.

My favourite memory would have to be in Korcula – when we returning back to our hotel from dinner. Aaron asked the young boy driving us home (in a golf cart like buggy) if there was anywhere to stop for a beer. As it is a small town, he told us that everything was closed.

As it started to rain, we found ourselves in a local side street. We pulled up to find an older man (the drivers dad) standing outside in the rain, under an umbrella with a cold beer waiting for Aaron. This is just one memory of Croatia that has us coming back. The people are so hospitable and they work hard.

My family is from Cyprus so I knew we had a bit of exploring to do. Lucky for us, my dad’s cousin from America was visiting and he took us under his wing and played tour guide. We spent many days drinking beer on the beach, sharing stories and meeting locals who knew my grandparents. It was so surreal to finally be in the place my grandparents called home.

We checked out early from our hotel to stay in the village my dad was raised in. When I woke up in my grandma’s sisters house I had to pinch myself that this was real life. I would walk down the stairs to see Yiayia Rebecca, telling us to eat and drink. Made my heart feel warm that my grandparents were here with me again.

Quite a few of our hotels in both Japan and Europe left complimentary bottles of wine or champagne for us on arrival. The accommodation in Hakone actually gave us a pair of handcrafted chopsticks. We thought that was a special keepsake from our trip. Very thoughtful.

Our favourite activity in Japan would have been watching the sumo wrestling in Kyoto. It was a bit of a mission to get there but well worth it. So much fun!
We spent many days walking though parks and having picnics under the cherry blossoms. The 7/11 is amazing for sushi packs and canned beer/wine. The perfect set up for a low key day or night.

The only kind of activites Aaron and I like to do on holidays is sleeping in, spending days at the beach and eating. We both feel that our everyday lives are 100 miles an hour, so when we holiday, we make a conscious effort to not over commit to things. In saying that, we always do as the locals do. So the Opera/ballet in Vienna was a must, Onsen in Japan was a must and visiting historical sites is also important. Hiroshima in Japan was truly emotional.

The fortress in the old town of Dubrovnik was surreal and the divide in Cyprus was clearly still evident.


Whenever someone tells me they are visiting Japan I also ask if they are going to Kyoto. The best burnt miso ramen! KYOTO GOGYO is the name of the restaurant.

Park Hyatt Tokyo – New York Grill is amazing. We did the degustation menu and it had all the good bits. Best wagyu steak I’ve ever had.

7/11 is on a whole new level in Japan. You can have a full meal from there. Aaron and I were like kids in a candy store. Over indulging on sushi packs and umeshu (plum wine).

When Aaron and I travel, we always ask the locals where they eat. Most places in Europe were small, family run restaurants with authentic meals. Half of these restaurants wouldn’t have Instagram pages for people to look at.

When planning your honeymoon try not to jam pack too much in. Pick a few places and really explore…and enjoy. There is nothing worse than living out of suitcase and rushing from one place to the other before settling in. Our two trips consisted of: Tokyo – Hakone – Nagoya – Kyoto – Tokyo; and Vienna- Zurich- Dubrovnik – Korcula – Taormina – Syracusa – Palermo – Cyrpus.

Our travel advice is when travelling within Japan, the bullet trains/Shinkansen are the best way to get from A to B. They are timely, inexpensive and comfortable.


Our favourite moment from the trip would be spending time with my family in Cyprus. Waking up in the village and enjoying the simple pleasures is something money can’t buy.

Laura & Aaron’s Honeymoon Recommendations:

Accommodation

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See Laura and Aaron’s wedding featured here.

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