It’s been a little while since we got back from our trip to Hawaii, but I wanted to share a few gems with you all (now that Jamie knows, since she went with me).
First of all, Oahu (especially Waikiki and basically all of Honolulu) really caters to a Japanese tourist populace. This is awesome on multiple levels, because you can get food and products there that you can’t get anywhere else except Japan. Unfortunately, it’s still US territory, so certain export/import rules apply. But the food–especially the curry, the sushi, and the udon–is amazing.
We stayed in a little place called Manoa Valley Inn, a charming Edwardian mansion converted to a bed and breakfast. This place was beautiful. They’ve redone the pool area to look like a private lagoon, and the food every morning is to die for. Since it is an old mansion, I recommend against staying here if you are super sensitive to noise. A few of the rooms can’t close the windows all the way, and the house creaks occasionally in the wind. However, if you are open to adventure (and a homecooked combination between Japanese and native food, with bacon), then this is absolutely the place to go. The family is half Japanese, half Irish, and all charming.
When we were in Hawaii we climbed the Stairway to Heaven…alas, we didn’t get to see the sunrise at the top because of the clouds that day. It was one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done, almost as hard as Fuji, but more condensed. On the plus side, snorkeling took the edge off.
Apparently going to Hawaii in winter means no swimming on the North Shore, but fewer tourists as well. Whale watching is a big must see–we even saw spouts from the shoreline!
We didn’t take Aubri with us because I wanted a romantic getaway, but unfortunately we spent the whole time thinking she would love the water. Next time we hit the beach, you’ll all get amazing pictures.
Hanauma Bay: Fish so big Jamie could see them! Go early.
Bubbies Ice Cream: Wow. Homemade mochi ice cream in a huge variety of flavors. Sakura, Green Tea, Salted Caramel were our favorites.
Stairway to Heaven: Really. Totally worth it for the accomplishment.
Ala Moana Center: A mall with an amazing food court
There was a little privately owned pineapple shop in Waikiki that is apparently one of the only private owned pineapple growers in Hawaii…most are owned by Dole. They grow organic and sell organic chocolate-dipped pineapple. YUM. Seriously.
The Swapmeet: It might kill your feet, but you can get a lot of the cheesy souvenirs from elsewhere at either Walmart or the Swapmeet for much less…they all come from the same place, so if you are looking for real handmade souvenirs, go to the North Shore.
There was a place called SushiSan with Kaiten sushi–conveyor belt sushi–that was pretty tasty for what it is, and super cheap ($1 a plate, which is better usually than 100y a plate). The only warning I have is to make sure you keep an eye on the guy at the front door, he’s bad at keeping names in order.
Valley of the Temples, just beautiful.
Our adventure was amazing, but it made us miss Japan again…time to plan another trip!