instagram japan geekgirlgoes

I lived in Japan for 2 amazing years, and the memories I left with will never be equalled. From cherry blossoms and geisha in Kyoto, to robots and dolphins in Tokyo, monkeys and snow in Nagano, and blacksmithing in Gifu – it’s been a wild ride. And, like any good millennial, I tracked all of my adventures on Instagram. So, here are my favourite pictures and moments of Instagram Japan.

Kiyomizu Temple

This was one of the first pictures I uploaded to the GeekGirlGoes Instagram page, and I still love it! I lived so close to this temple for my 2 years in Japan, and didn’t visit it until a few months before I left. The beautiful colours of the temple buildings contrasted so well with the bright blue sky. I’m holding up my entrance ticket in this picture too. I kept that, and pasted it into my travel journal to remember this magical place.

Kamogawa River

This river was where I spent so many days and nights, drinking Asahi beer and enjoying the sunshine. Right in the heart of Kyoto, this river is the most popular drinking spot amongst the cities young crowd. Every day during summer, you will see the banks lined with students, couples, and tourists. The water is so clear, you can see the fish, turtles and other creatures frolicking. Every week, my brother and I would sit and watch the sunset, while enjoying some ice cold beers from the nearest convenience store.

Okunoshima (Rabbit) Island

This was one of my favourite day trips I took in Japan. Okunoshima, or ‘Rabbit Island’, is located in the Seto Inland Sea. I took trains and ferries to get there – and spent the whole day walking and exploring. Having the chance to get so close to the adorable little bunnies as well was an added bonus! The island was so beautiful, I could have stayed another day!


When I got the chance to enjoy an overnight stay at a Buddhist temple – I had no idea just how relaxing it would be! I stayed at Okunoin on Koyasan, and had a great time exploring all the temples in this holy place. This picture is of me walking through Daimon – the large gate that marks the entrance to the mountain. I took this using self timer, and trust me when I say, it took a while to get it right! I was the only person here on the day (probably because of the weather). So, at least nobody was witness to my photo-shoot fails!


The most incredible experience of my life (so far), was swimming with dolphins! I was so happy to do this out in the wild, rather than in a zoo. We just jumped off our boat, and dived around with them. At one point, I nearly jumped right on top of one! Despite being sea sick on the boat – this day will never be topped!

Snow Monkeys

I remember feeling just like David Attenborough when I saw the snow monkeys. It was in Jigokudani in Nagano. The monkeys here like to relax in the natural hot springs, and they don’t care about humans! You could get so close, and they didn’t bat an eyelid – they were so chilled! This was also my first time staying in a traditional Japanese Inn. The whole trip was just amazing – somewhere I would definitely go back to!

Cherry Blossoms

Japan is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms – and I’m not surprised! Hanami (or flower viewing) parties are so much fun! Everyone spreads out in parks, along the river, or anywhere else there are flowers! You have snacks, drinks, and good times! Sometimes the Japanese work hanami parties can be a bit too formal for my liking; but get some of us foreigners together, and we know how to have a good time!


Another famous spot in Japan is the floating tori gate in Miyajima. I actually went at low tide, which I found simply magical! You could actually walk up to the gate, and touch it! The island also has a number of wild deer on it, just like Nara. I saw one try and eat a man’s map that was sticking out of his back pocket!

Ice Hotel

When we visited the northern island of Hokkaido for my birthday in February, we missed the famous snow festival. But, what we didn’t miss, was the chance to see a bar and hotel made completely from ice! We had such an awesome time drinking cocktails out of ice glasses, and riding the snow banana boat – the perfect day!

Tanabata Festival

There are festivals every week in some part of Japan – but one of my favourites was the Kyoto Tanabta Festival. This is a festival all about stars, and granting wishes. It happens every year in August, and they light up the Kamogawa river with thousands of fairy light, lanterns and projections. It so beautiful to walk along at night time, and tie your wish to one of the trees!

Sumo Wrestling!

Yep. I got to wrestle a real sumo. And yes, I won. I know. I’m awesome. Do I need to say anything more about this one? Didn’t think so…


And now, the end is near…Well, actually, it was a month or so ago. This is my favourite snap from my goodbye party, in my favourite karaoke bar. I didn’t notice until I was looking through all the pictures, that I was actually the only girl!! I had so many nights in this bar (pretty much once a week for 2 years!), so it was only right that it be the location of my goodbye celebrations. After 2 free bottles of champagne, lots of singing, and a few beers, I called it night. Goodbye Japan! You were an amazing chapter in my life, and though I’m sad you’re gone, I must move on…

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

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Like any good millennial, I have documented my life via Instagram snaps, filters, and hashtags. So, here is my last 2 years living in Japan- through the eyes of my Instagram lens

  • Leslie

    Wow. Your Instagram is great! I love the balance of nature, man-made stuff, and culture. Yay Sumo wrestling!!

    What’s your next adventure? It will be hard to top Japan!

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Thanks so much! That means a lot to me!
      I’m actually going for a beach, relaxing holiday to Tenerife in two days time!! Got a few things lined up for the future for more long term travel too – but it’s early days yet; so I can’t reveal much more!!!

  • Aw this is really lovely. Looks like you had an amazing time. I once applied to work in Japan but didn’t get the job because I came out with a rather unforgivable gaffe at interview which they didn’t appreciate lol. The ignorance of youth! I was VERY young

    • GeekGirlGoes

      oh no! You should definitely try again now your older (and hopefully wiser!). It’s a great place to live!

  • Erika Bisbocci

    What an incredible experience that will stay with you forever! I’ve been to Japan twice, but would love to go again to add the Tori Gate and the Nagano Monkeys to my list. The Ice HIlls Hotel also seems like a really neat experience!

    • GeekGirlGoes

      I don’t think one can ever visit Japan enough times! I’ve still got a long list of things to do there! haha

  • Christina Pfeiffer

    There are some iconic Japanese experiences here Danielle. I didn’t realise there was an ice hotel in Japan! Did you sleep in an ice bed? Swimming with dolphins looks amazing and not the kind of experience you’d expect to do in Japan.

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Sadly, no, we didnt sleep there. But we had lots of cool drinks in the ice bar instead!
      Yes – the dolphins were simply amazing!

  • Japan looks like a dream! πŸ™‚ I can totally relate to the first photo, I lived in Dubai and had the Burj Khalifa right outside my workplace and never got to go up there until I was about to leave. I think it’s human nature that we always take for granted the things that we think will always be there. Love your photos. πŸ™‚

    • GeekGirlGoes

      I know! Its terrible really isn’t it?! It’s like back here in England. I live so close to the Lake District – and I’ve never been!!

  • Probearoundthe Globe

    I really like the concept of the instagram images! And the bunny! He is so cute! Did you know it is internationally bunny day? Must be awesome at the bunny island

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Aw I had no idea! What good timing I (unknowingly) had! haha.

  • Japan really is a beautiful place! It’s high on my list to visit very soon. So many things to see and do there.

    Thank you for sharing these.

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Thanks for your lovely comment!! I hope you get to go there soon! It really is an amazing place to see!!

  • what beautiful images – I’m still waiting to visit japan, but meanwhile I’ll check out your instagram

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Thanks so much! I hope you get to go one day!!

  • Looks like you’ve had an amazing two years! I was a bit surprised by all the animals featured, for some reasons that’s not what I think of when I think Japan. More the sumo and all the beautiful blossoms! I’d love to visit one day – fingers crossed!

    • GeekGirlGoes

      I know what you mean about the animals though! I never expected to have so many experiences with them in Japan! Turns out there’s LOADS of animal trips to be had!!

  • Looks like you had a great time exploring Japan. I’ve always wanted to go, but it’s just so expensive so out of my budget at the moment. I’m glad you got to experience so many places while you were there!

    • GeekGirlGoes

      It might not be as expensive as you think! The biggest costs are flights. The food over there can be super cheap!! I usually ate a good meal for less than 1000 yen ($10); but you can get good rice bowls for half that price! Don’t let the cost put you off!! πŸ˜€

  • Arzo Travels

    What a lovely idea of such Instagram post. I love the pictures, they are stunning. I envy you for swimming with dolphins. <3

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Aw thank you! The dolphins were such an amazing experience! I never had a clue you could do something like that in Japan – and so close to Tokyo!

  • When I met my husband back in 2013, we made a deal we will visit Japan for OI 2020 πŸ™‚ I hope that would be possible – your photos are so inviting, especially cherry blossom season!
    You like sumo is hilarious πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Ah! I hope you get to go!! I’ve been thinking of going back for then too!

  • Megan Claire

    Sounds like youve had some amazing memories and adventures in Japan over the past two years! I would love to get to the cherry blossoms, to the snow monkeys, and to a sumo wrestling event!

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Thanks! I really did! So many amazing experiences to be had!

  • Ah! I am envious. Two years is nice and long period to explore a place.
    Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures. I will look you up on Instagram.

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Thanks! But still after 2 years, there’s still so much more I want to see!

  • What a fantastic stay you had in Japan. I’m really intrigued by the overnight stay at the buddhist temple. Just checked out that post. It is something I would absolutely love to do. Haven’t been to Japan yet, and looking at your pictures make me want to go tomorrow.

    • GeekGirlGoes

      It is an amazing country! And staying overnight at the temple was amazing! Everything is amazing! haha

  • What a privilege to be able to spend two years in this fascinating country. The closes I have been was a 2 x 12 hour layovers in Osaka en route to Europe a few tears ago. I have always known I wanted to go back and these photos have inspired me even more. I love the floating gate and the dolphin πŸ™‚

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Yay! You definitely should go! Thanks so much πŸ™‚

  • Lisa Martin

    What an incredible 2 years that must have been! I’d love to visit Japan, it seems like such a diverse country. The cherry blossoms look so unreal!

    • GeekGirlGoes

      It really really is! Thats part of why I loved it so much!

  • Colby

    I visited Kyoto last fall and it is easily one of my top 5 favorite places. I hope to go back and visit other parts of Japan, especially to see the cherry blossoms! Love the photos you’ve captured. And that Ice Hotel looks like sooo much fun!!

    • GeekGirlGoes

      Thanks so much! Yeah, cherry blossoms are the best! Very busy though! haha

  • This makes me want to move to Japan right now! It seems like a place with endless amount of beauty!