My sister has been in Japan for the better part of a year now. It’s hard to believe. She left last August to teach English in a small town two hours outside of Tokyo and has been in Japan ever since. I was so excited to return to¬†Japan, mostly to see Laura, but also to be able to experience this place again (this time with a fresher eye) and to truly savor my last days before returning to work.

We spent 3 nights in Osaka, 5 nights on Ishigaki – at the southernmost tip of the Japanese island chain, and then I spent 3 nights in Hiroshima. As you’ll see from the photos I was most taken with the cherry blossoms and the coastal scenes, which left me feeling recharged. Ishigaki was the highlight for me, as it’s on a similar latitude as Hawaii with the same tropical feel, not to mention the bed and breakfast where we stayed was absolutely charming. Hiroshima was a close second due to the proximity to the water, the manageable size and general nature of the city as well as its location¬†next to the hills.

I am so grateful to have been able to visit Laura during her year abroad just like she did for me. I realize these are not experiences that everyone gets to have with a sibling and to understand this place a little better with her was priceless.