A Tokyo Engagement Story

by Lisa on Wednesday: Feb 10, 2016

Before I get into today’s post, I’d like to say hi and welcome to anyone stopping by from the Runaway Bridal Planner’s blog hop!

While you’re here, also make sure to check out Monday’s post on My Favorite Go-To Vegetarian Dinners, and stay tuned for more posts about my travel, food and life adventures.


In September of 2014, my then boyfriend (now fiancee) D and I went on the biggest trip of our lives to Tokyo, Japan. I had been to Tokyo once before many years earlier and had absolutely loved the experience. Meanwhile, D had always dreamed of visiting the country, and we had been planning to go together for several years, but had to wait until the timing was right and we had enough money saved up for the trip.

After much preparing and planning, that time had finally arrived and we were on our way!

Right away, Tokyo proved to be beautiful, unexpected and filled with everything that we love:

Tokyo Japan

But the biggest surprise came two days into our trip in the middle of a random adventure. We had set out that morning to find the store Artnia, which is the new Square Enix store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Both D and I are big fans of Square Enix video games, so this had been on our wish list for a while.


However, finding Artnia proved to be more difficult than anticipated, and we ended up completely lost on the streets of Shinjuku. It was only by luck that we happened to stumble onto a random shrine tucked into one of the side streets. We decided to be whimsical and stop in, as it was the first shrine we had encountered during our trip, and we wanted to explore.

Hanazono Shrine

It was very important to D that we visit several shrines on this trip, and he was intent on writing several Emas while we were there. These are little wooden boards that you can purchase on which you write wishes or prayers for yourself or loved ones. They are then displayed on a board in the center of the shrine.

Hanazono Shrine Wish

We headed straight over to purchase one for D. I gave him some privacy while he wrote, because I didn’t know if he wanted to keep his wishes private. I turned away and entertained myself with this poster while he was writing:

Tokyo Construction Poster

When he was done, we walked over to the board to hang what he had written on the board, and he started getting a little weird. I thought it was because he didn’t want me to see what he had written, but then he said to me: “Take a look around. I want you to remember this moment.”

And he hung the board on the wall and let me read the writing. His wish that he had written was to have a long and happy marriage with me as his wife. When I turned around to look at him, he was taking a ring box out of his pocket and he asked me to marry him! I was in total, utter shock. I had no idea he was planning to propose, and I have no idea how he kept it such a secret for so long.

He then told me that he had actually asked my father’s permission a few weeks before we left on our trip, and that he had been carrying the ring around in his backpack with him the whole time (that explained what he was carrying that backpack everywhere!). Also, he was smart enough to get a stand-in ring instead of risking taking a real one all the way across the world on a plane. We later picked out my real engagement ring together.

We spent the rest of the day celebrating, and made calls home the next day (when it was a more human hour in America) to let everyone know.

D always jokes that I had no choice but to say yes because we were only on day 2 of a two week trip in a foreign country, and it would have been quite awkward otherwise 🙂 But this event solidified how special Tokyo is to the two of us and made it one of the most memorable experiences of my life.


Other posts about Tokyo:
How to Be A Vegetarian at Tokyo Disney

Other posts about the wedding:
Ten Things on My Wedding To Do List
So I Went Wedding Dress Shopping
Wedding Planning Updates
Wedding Planning Adventures


If you’re engaged or married, tell me what your engagement experience was like!

What travel destinations are on your bucket list?

35 Responses to “A Tokyo Engagement Story”

  1. Terra Heck says:

    Wow, that’s a memorable proposal! I’d never heard of Emas before; quite interesting!

  2. What a great experience. & I also love that he was sensible enough to get a stand-in ring. He’s right, carrying such an expensive thing all over would have been so nerve wracking!

    I’m headed to New Zealand, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy & Montenegro this year, so I’m crossing those off. But Switzerland, Thailand & Iceland are high on my bucket list!

    • Lisa says:

      Wow – you have some great destinations on your travel list! Italy is on my list as well.

  3. That is a great engagement story! I love my fiance and my story because it is so us. One random Wednesday morning he asked me to help him get his stuff together for a work outing that morning. He told me that was something specific in the bottom drawer of our dresser that he needed. I didn’t turn the light on, I just felt around for it, I couldn’t feel it so I told him it wasn’t there. He proceeded to tell me it was and I should look harder, all the while I am cursing him in my head for not doing it himself. Finally, he said turn the light on and look for it. And well there sat my ring in a beautiful box right in the middle of the drawer. There was so much excitement that we realized later that night he didn’t ever actually ask me to marry him. We are getting married in August, I am so looking forward to it!

    Best wishes on your engagement and marriage!

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you! Your engagement story is adorable. That’s a pretty creative way to do it – I’m sure you didn’t see it coming when he asked you to go look for something in the dresser!

  4. Erin says:

    How sweet!!! Our current bucket list travel item is to drive all of Route 66 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      That sounds like a really fun road trip! Thanks for coming to stop by the blog.

  5. Rebecca Jo says:

    That is just precious. I love hearing how people get engaged – especially fun surprises like that one.
    & kudos for him asking your parents before – that to me always speaks volumes of respect.

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you! I was impressed that he asked my father as well. And surprised that my dad had kept the secret so well afterward!

  6. What a LOVELY story!!! Sounds like he’s the perfect guy for you.
    I’m also a fan of Japan (and Tokyo – but prefer Kyoto). Looking forward to more travel stories (and checking out your favorite veggie meals)

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you! I’ve never been to Kyoto, but its another place I’d love to check out the next time we head to Japan.

  7. Hollie says:

    Wow that is truly incredible. This was such a lovely pick me up to read over lunch, thanks for sharing.

  8. How incredible. You know as a wedding decorator/planner weddings are sort of my thing. I love hearing the different stories of how people get engaged.
    Love that he asked your dad first before you left on the trip, and that he took the time to plan everything out so well.
    Great story, thanks for sharing!!!!

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you! He really did plan out everything very well, and did a great job of keeping it all a secret.

  9. Emily says:

    Engagement stories are some of my favorites, and I LOVE that he picked Japan to do it.

    • Lisa says:

      It really was a great idea to do it in Japan. It made for a very memorable trip!

  10. Cassi says:

    What a beautiful engagement story! I wonder if you were really lost or if that was part of the plan?

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you! That would be pretty funny if he even planned for us to get lost 🙂

  11. Caroline says:

    What sweet engagement story. I always love the creativity in proposals especially when they represent something or happen somewhere so special to the two people involved! I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years and am pretty sure we’ll spend the rest of this lifetime together. We mesh so well with one another but I can’t even imagine what he’ll come up with! I love that you were utterly surprised! Congratulations again!

    I would LOVE to travel! And know I will! How can we not set out with all our effort to see the beautiful world around us! To be honest though I’ve never quite had the urge to visit any Asian countries, I’m not too sure why but I’ve heard such great things from people who have made the trips to places like Japan!

    link to curlycaroline.wordpress.com

    • Lisa says:

      I agree that travel is so important in life! It’s funny – on this trip, my fiancee and I had also been together for just over 5 years. By the time we get married, we’ll be at almost 7 years!

  12. Awwww! What a super cute and memorable story. I love it and his thoughtfulness. Lucky girl!! We are close to Boston too BTW 🙂

  13. lindsey says:

    Aw! That must have been such an amazing experience! I traveled to/through Italy for a semester and my husband (boyfriend at the time) came to visit me over spring break. I could have only dreamed that he would have proposed, but we just weren’t in that place yet – but we had a great time! My proposal is far less exciting – I had just gotten back from a weekend with my best friend for her bachelorette party. The entire weekend consisted of me having a great time with the gals and fending off “when are you going to get married” questions. I was exhausted when I got back home, but my hubs wanted to go to dinner…I didn’t really care where we went (error #1). Then I asked if I needed to get dressed or if we could be lazy casual (error #2)… We walked to the restaurant and they only had seating at the bar for like 40 minutes, so I said sure, the bar it is (error #3). The cards were stacked against him, but after a little talking and recapping the weekend, then he asked me 🙂 Now I understood a little more about why he wanted to go to dinner, look decent, and sit at an actual table – oh well! We all have our stories 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      I love your engagement story too! I think I would have reacted the same way leading up to it, but I’m sure your day turned around significantly once you figured out what was going on 🙂

  14. What a beautiful story and memorable proposal!!! I’m so excited to get to know you better through the hop!

  15. tamieka says:

    Hi from the hop!

    Awwww! Congrats! How sweet!

    What a wonderful memory!

  16. Allyson says:

    That is such a great story that you will get to carry with you forever! It sounds like you have a smart man, too–clearly a lot of thought and planning went into the proposal!

    • Lisa says:

      He certainly did put a lot of thought and effort in. I’m surprised he was able to keep it all a secret. Thank you for stopping by from the hop!

  17. Awww, that’s a great story!! I love when a guy puts so much thought into it. Keeping that a secret must have been hard. I’d be busting at the seams wanting it to happen right away!

  18. Taylor says:

    Oh my gosh!!! I just cried reading your proposal story! That is the sweetest, most thoughtful proposal ever. My husband also surprised me by proposing on a trip to DC… I had no idea!! We are visiting London and the Cayment Islands this spring so I am pretty excited!!

  19. Karen says:

    What a beautiful way to propose 🙂 I love seeing the pictures of Tokyo!

Leave a Reply