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Part 1: An Unforgettable Honeymoon in Six Famous Japanese Cities

Newlyweds from Melbourne share the top moments from their 16-day winter honeymoon, starting with the bustling cities of Fukuoka, Osaka, and Kyoto.



Sheron and Brian in kimonos from Tea Ceremony Kyoto Maikoya at Nishiki. (©Sheron and Brian Tong | Instagram @briontheship)

From its splendid cuisine and beautiful nature to unparalleled hospitality, Japan offers everything a couple needs for an enviable honeymoon. And the cheap yen is a bonus for those wishing to travel on a budget.

This winter, newlyweds Sheron and Brian have traveled from Melbourne, where they are currently based, to celebrate the start of their new life together. The couple are from Hong Kong, which frequently ranks among the countries/regions with the highest number of visitors to Japan. So, it's unsurprising that this visit marks Sheron's fifth and Brian's second.

Here are their top picks from their travels in Fukuoka, Osaka, and Kyoto, featuring iconic tourist spots as well as local favorites. Watch for part two for their highlights in Nara, Hakone, and Tokyo.

1. Fukuoka

Cafe Miel(カフェ・ミエル)

Tucked away in the basement of a building just across Hakata Station, this hidden gem has been serving the community for around 50 years. Filled with charming retro decor, the cafe is a must-visit for those who enjoy a bit of nostalgia. All hot coffee is served in delicate cups made by Koransha, a leading manufacturer of Arita ware.

Cafe Miel is presently managed by esteemed roastery Honey Coffee, guaranteeing a top-notch brew. If the extensive coffee selection seems daunting, customers can simply ask the barista for a taste to discover their preferences.

"The atmosphere was relaxed and chill, and it was warm and cozy in there. The extensive menu with descriptions of the taste of each coffee was really helpful!" — Sheron and Brian

A barista prepares coffee using a siphon brewer at Cafe Miel. (©Sheron and Brian Tong | Instagram @briontheship)

Ohori Park and Maizuru Park(大濠公園・舞鶴公園)

Both parks are places of cultural and historical significance, and they are located right next to each other. Ohori Park is registered as a Place of Scenic Beauty, while Maizuru Park is the location of the Fukuoka Castle ruins, a designated historical site.

The huge pond in Ohori Park used to form part of the moat system of Fukuoka Castle. Visitors can walk across the pond by traversing three small islands connected by bridges, making for a perfect photo backdrop.


"Lovely place for a long walk and family-friendly. We especially enjoyed people-watching as there were so many locals using the park for exercise and fun as well." — Sheron and Brian

Uma Uma, Gion Main Store (うま馬 祇園店)

A Fukuoka trip is not complete without a bowl of steaming hot ramen. Just a minute's walk away from Gion Station, Uma Uma is cherished by locals and tourists alike. Its signature dish is the tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen, which originated in Fukuoka. The restaurant also offers other authentic Hakata dishes, such as motsunabe (offal stew) in flying fish broth. Customers can choose between counter seats and Japanese-style seating with mats.

"Super authentic with no English menu. Definitely a local spot and if you're at the counter, you'll be able to see your food cooked right in front of you." — Sheron and Brian

2. Osaka

Yaoya to Gohan, Uraya (八百屋とごはん うらや本店)

Yaoya to Gohan provides the perfect respite for those seeking to rest their stomachs after indulging in the rich flavors of Osaka. Curated by a certified sports nutritionist, the restaurant offers a delightful selection of handmade dishes in a homely atmosphere.

Popular for its all-day set meals, the restaurant offers options like the "genki" (energetic) set for protein and vitality, or the "kaifuku" (recovery) set to boost the immune system. Its chefs are passionate about using pesticide-free vegetables, sourced directly from local farmers.

"The Teishoku sets might be healthy, but it was delicious as well. Sitting in the tatami area was a highlight and the staff were all friendly despite us not knowing any Japanese." — Sheron and Brian

Brian ready to dig in. (©Sheron and Brian Tong | Instagram @briontheship)

Umeda Sky Building

Renowned for its "Floating Garden Observatory" on the 39th floor, the Umeda Sky Building offers an exceptional 360-degree panorama of the city. Notably, the building features the world's highest escalator, a creation of architect Hiroshi Hara. Its futuristic tunnel-like design provides an interesting contrast to the building's basement, where a restaurant floor recreates the ambiance of the city during the early Showa period.

"Epic views of Osaka, and it was surprisingly not crowded." — Sheron and Brian


As of December 2023, ROUND1 boasts 100 branches throughout Japan and serves as a popular entertainment hub for families, friends, and couples. The Sennichimae branch in Osaka provides a diverse array of activities, including karaoke, claw machines, arcade cabinets, as well as various sports options such as billiards, bowling, darts, batting booths, golf shooting range, archery, and more. 

"We loved the unlimited arcade level, where we didn't need coins as it was included in our entrance fee. We're usually quite active people, and there were limited or no gyms at our hotel so ROUND1 was a fun alternative!" — Sheron and Brian

3. Kyoto

Tea Ceremony in Kimono

These venues offer two experiences in one: choosing and sporting a kimono and participating in a traditional tea ceremony. With its intricate layers, even Japanese people often need help wearing a kimono. Most venues come with a traditional Japanese garden, which serves as the perfect backdrop for photos. Sheron and Brian went to the Tokyo branch of Tea Ceremony Kyoto Maikoya at Nishiki.


Plans vary depending on the venue, so it's advisable to do some research before making a choice. For example, some offer the additional experience of making Japanese confectionery, which can later be enjoyed with green tea during the ceremony.

While the tea ceremony is traditionally conducted in the kneeling position, many venues offer chairs upon request. So don't let pins and needles deter you from this cultural experience.

"The lady who conducted the tea ceremony was extremely knowledgeable while still keeping it a relaxed and fun experience. We learned about the history and customs of traditional tea ceremonies and got a chance to learn how to whisk matcha." — Sheron and Brian

Sheron and Brian in their chosen kimonos. (©Sheron and Brian Tong | Instagram @briontheship)

Tairikitei (大力邸)

This beautiful restaurant is situated within the peaceful surroundings of Nanzen-ji Temple in Higashiyama ward. It is so popular that eager patrons often form long lines before the restaurant opens.

The highlight of this establishment is the enchanting Soryu (twin dragons) garden, visible from all four dining areas. Tairikitei is also worth visiting for its exquisite menu, which offers both high-end dinner courses and casual lunch options that showcase the finest Japanese ingredients. 

"The view of the autumn foliage from upstairs was stunning. We loved that we were able to order our dinner sets ahead of time so we could fully enjoy the experience with everything already paid for. We highly recommend ordering different sets so you can taste more of what the restaurant offers." — Sheron and Brian

Shosei-en Garden (渉成園)

A venerable garden with a rich history, Shosei-en Garden once belonged to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. He donated the garden to Higashi Hongan-ji Temple in 1641. 

Shosei-en has withstood the passage of time and was designated a Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government in 1936. It has left a lasting impression on historic figures, including the Confucian scholar Rai San-yo, who eloquently recorded the garden's beauty in 1827.

A distinctive feature of the garden is the expansive Ingetsu-chi pond, which occupies a sixth of the entire grounds. Looking down at the pond's reflection from the elegant Shinsetsu bridge is like peering into another world.

"This was a hidden gem and so quiet compared to the other shrines/temples we visited in Kyoto. The garden was a hidden beauty and you can see the Kyoto Tower from one bridge, where it is reflected perfectly in the pond." — Sheron and Brian

The surrounding nature reflected in Ingetsu-chi pond. (©Sheron and Brian Tong | Instagram @briontheship)


Author: Miruka Adachi

Photos and recommendations were provided by Sheron Cheung | Instagram @gaze.into.the.mirror and Brian Tong | Instagram @not.briantong. For more of their adventures, check their couple Instagram account @briontheship.

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