Kyoto Japan ancient temple

12 Unexpected Things About Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto Japan ancient temple

Sweets are their #1 souvenir, most of them originally created as a companion to tea. Almost every place you look you will find pastry and sweets shops but the Lawson convenience stores are an inexpensive way to try a variety of unusual treats.Even in fine hotels beds are nearly hard as wood. They will take some getting used to, but you might sleep better than usual.WiFi is hard to find though it's common for tourists to rent a Read More

adorable dog mall tokyo

An Entire Dog Mall in Tokyo, Japan

adorable dog mall tokyo

It is no secret that many of Tokyo's 13 million inhabitants love animals. Animal cafés across the city allow apartment dwellers an opportunity to give and receive love from an animal and thus help relieve stress in their lives. As an animal lover, this is a concept I can totally appreciate. Despite having a list of dog cafés to visit on my trip to Tokyo, I couldn't locate a single one! I found navigating the city overwhelming, Read More

fashion show red silk kimono

Kimono Fashion Show in Kyoto, Japan

fashion show red silk kimono

Travelers interested in Japanese art and culture will appreciate the Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto, a large facility showcasing the techniques of Nishijin textile making, developed over 1,000 years of Kyoto's history. They also perform a fashion show featuring stunning silk woven kimonos with designs representing the current season. My visit was in January, so the kimonos above depict the winter season and transition into Read More

Mt Fuji at sunset

Beautiful Trip to Mt Fuji and Hot Springs

Mt Fuji at sunset

An unforgettable getaway from Tokyo that offers stunning views of Mount Fuji, this destination is an exceptional one. The town is Hakone (haw-cone-ay) and its centuries-old hot springs (onsen) are located in the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Onsen are very popular across Japan and are a longtime fixture in Japanese culture. The number of Hakone visitors continues to grow while the number of visitors to Read More

monkey nestled in tree

Afternoon with Japanese Monkeys

monkey nestled in tree

  Have you ever had a moment when you are traveling, one which made you stop and really be so thankful for that exact moment? You feel a special connection with whatever surrounds you and it fills you with emotion. Just outside Kyoto, Japan is a place where I had one of those beautiful moments: Arashiyama Monkey Park. If and when I go back to Japan, this will likely be the first thing on my list. Snow monkeys, you Read More

yoshiwara red light district toei film studio

Kyoto Film Studio Park

yoshiwara red light district toei film studio

One of the most fun things I did in Kyoto was visit the Toei Studio Park, a currently operating film studio and theme park. If you are a kid at heart or if you have any interest in film making, I suggest a visit. If you are silly like me you will be laughing all day long. What is This Studio Park? The studio depicts a small town from the Edo Period which is used to film historical movies and television dramas.  We walked Read More

Mt Fuji special kit kat

Unusual Souvenirs Only at Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji special kit kat

If you are planning to visit Tokyo, I highly recommend a short getaway to see the majestic Mt Fuji. It is the single-most popular tourism site in all of Japan and has been inspiring people since at least the 7th century. If aerial views of Fuji from one of the world's most breathtaking cable car rides isn't enough to convince you, these Fuji-only souvenirs might reel you in. Most of these can only be found in the shops near Mt Read More

Meiko performance at Gion Corner

See Ancient Japanese Arts and Geisha on Stage

Meiko performance at Gion Corner

In the famous Kyoto district known as Gion, you will find a theatrical stage show of the Japanese performing arts. Gion was originally developed in the Middle Ages (!) and eventually became one of the most exclusive and well-known geisha districts in all of Japan. After your day of strolling through the shrines, peeking into shops and sampling colorful sweets, I highly recommend an evening show at the Gion Corner. I've been Read More

hand painted bamboo wall hangings kyoto

The Best Cultural Classes in Kyoto

hand painted bamboo wall hangings kyoto

I believe that taking classes of any kind when you travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to see the world; Kyoto is a fantastic city for this because you have the opportunity to learn so many different ancient skills from painting, to pottery, calligraphy, flower arranging, and much more. Kyoto was originally founded in the year 794 and for one thousand years, it was the imperial capital of Japan. The city is home to Read More

kyoto-flea-market-handmade-samaurai

Awesome Flea Markets in Ancient Kyoto

kyoto-flea-market-handmade-samaurai

Visiting Kyoto, Japan recently I was in search of hidden gems off the beaten path. I'm drawn to local markets to see interesting things from other cultures and help support local artisans. There is no better souvenir to bring home than something handmade or an antique treasure from another country. I thought flea markets in ancient Kyoto would be a fantastic treat because their culture is so different from mine and they have a Read More

kyoto-soba-noodles-owariya-storefront

Noodles at the Oldest Restaurant in Kyoto

kyoto-soba-noodles-owariya-storefront

I was incredibly lucky to enjoy a meal at the family owned and operated restaurant 'Honke Owariya' as a guest of one of the owners. This restaurant, which specializes in traditional soba (buckwheat) noodles, has existed in Kyoto since the year 1465! Over the centuries, Owariya has served emperors and shoguns as well as the monks of many Kyoto temples. To this day, the royal family eats here when they come to Kyoto. (The Read More

kyoto-travel-golden-temple-pavilion-kinkakuji-on-the-pond

Kyoto’s Golden Gem: Kinkakuji Temple

kyoto-travel-golden-temple-pavilion-kinkakuji-on-the-pond

Kinkakuji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen Temple in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto whose top two floors are entirely covered in gold leaf. It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. The view was perhaps the most awe-inspiring sight on my visit to Kyoto. Beyond that is an education and immersion into one of the world's best Read More

converse-jack-purcell-spring-2014

Crazy Converse I Saw in Japan and Where to Buy Them Online

converse-jack-purcell-spring-2014

  The Jack Purcell Converse are an all-time favorite sneaker, both classic and modern versions. They are understated, stylish and ultimately timeless. Recent years saw some new Jack Purcell releases including a twill/leather combination and nubuck leather edition in earth-tones. Did I mention the cork footbed which is moisture-wicking, shock absorbing and with continued wear will conform to the shape of your foot to Read More

Close up of japanese owl

Why Owls Bring Good Luck

Close up of japanese owl

I just returned from Japan where I noticed that in modern Japanese culture many people carry an owl charm. Apparently they do this because the owl symbolizes luck and protects them from suffering.  Through history in ancient Greece, Asia and America, owls have been a symbol of wisdom and magic. They are also unquestionably gorgeous, and mysterious in my opinion. But why are they lucky in Japanese culture?  Here's the Read More