Experience Japan with Patrick

Patrick Brooklyn, New York

Patrick Matutina, 36, is a California-born, Brooklyn-based lawyer who traveled to Japan in August for three weeks with his fiancée. 

Where did you eat your best meal and what was it?

Giro Giro Hitoshina, in Kyoto, was my favorite food spot. It’s a more relaxed kaiseki, or multi-course, dining experience. The chef is a cool young hipster; the food is creative; and the atmosphere is less stiff than a traditional kaiseki. We also loved the unique dish-ware.

The owner of Giro Giro taking a shot of sake with the customers

Where did you stay…and want to stay forever?

I don’t know about forever, but Yunoshimakan was really special. It’s one of the major onsen hot springs in Japan and was established way back in 1931. It is definitely starting to show its age, but its mustiness was sort of charming and the service was topnotch. The food was also spectacular and relaxing in our own private onsen was one of the highlights of our trip.

Patrick getting some Onsen action

What’s the one thing you’re glad you packed and why?

Definitely a nice pair of shorts. Japan gets very hot in the summer, particularly around Tokyo and Kyoto. In fact, I neglected to pack a sun hat and really regretted it. I’d also recommend that any traveler pack a coin purse. Anything under 1,000 yen is in coin form and you accumulate them quickly upon arrival.

Robin in front of Himeji Castle, aka the White Castle, aka the White Heron

What souvenir(s) did you buy and why?

Tons of fun candy/sweets as gifts and a cute bento box, which I actually take to work now. I also bought some nice Japanese pens and pencils because nothing beats Japanese pen technology.

Everywhere in Tokyo

What do you wish you’d done, but didn’t get to?

Go to a sumo match. 

Robin's fave dish on the whole trip which was a seafood donburi from the morning market in Hakodate, Hokkaido