Japan was behind the world in reopening, and as COVID-19 is now endemic, Japanese continue to wear face masks more commonly than almost any other country. This covers Japan’s face mask rules, laws (or lack thereof), and expectations, as well as other health safety measures and our experiences with masking in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka & beyond. […]
About Tom Bricker
Tom Bricker is a travel writer and photographer who splits time among Southern California, Central Florida, and Japan.
When not in one of those three locations, which Tom covers extensively here and on his other blog, Tom makes trips to the U.S. National Parks, Europe, and other destinations around the globe.
Entries by Tom Bricker
Wondering whether the Japan Rail Pass is worth the money? This buying guide covers where you can use the JR Pass, how much value you’ll get on a normal trip to Tokyo and Kyoto, and answers to frequently asked questions about the unlimited train ticket. It also covers our many experiences purchasing the JR Pass […]
When to visit Kyoto to avoid crowds, experience seasonal beauty, and enjoy the top festivals is important for first-timers to Japan. There will be no single worst or best time–it depends on your priorities. (Updated February 15, 2023.) In this guide, we’ll narrow down your options to help you assess when is the best time […]
This 2023 guide to Universal Studios Japan offers tips & tricks for visiting Osaka’s popular theme park, which is home to Super Nintendo World, Harry Potter, Jaws, and more! This includes USJ strategy & info about where to eat, what to do, how to avoid crowds, minimize wait times, and more! (Updated February 15, 2023.) Universal […]
Following the reopening of Japan to tourists, we returned to Kyoto and spent several weeks in the city. Suffice to say, a lot has changed. We revisited every major temple and shrine, checked in on hotels, wandered Gion, Arashiyama, Higashiyama, and other districts to see what things are like as of 2023. This update shares Kyoto photos, how […]
This guide to sakura season in Japan and 2023 cherry blossom flowering forecast covers our favorite spots, best temples & shrines in Kyoto, tips & tricks for avoiding crowds. We also take a deeper dive into the topic, highlighting hidden gems where you’ll find fewer people and no busloads of tour groups. (Updated February 15, […]
Is Japan open for international individual travelers? Are borders open as normal in 2023? What are testing, face mask, and vaccine requirements for visitors? These are questions among those planning trips to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and this covers the answers. (Updated February 12, 2023.) The good news is that we now have an answer to questions we’ve […]
Yosemite National Park’s Firefall at Horsetail Fall is a natural phenomenon visible in winter. This viewing guide offers info & tips from my experiences, best dates & locations, 2023 reservation requirements, parking restrictions, California snowfall & more. (Updated January 14, 2023.) First, you can read about my last photography attempt in Firefall Snowy Weekend Photo Report from […]
Our 2023 Paris travel guide offers info for making the most of your vacation, including things to do, transportation tips, hotel recommendations, where to eat, and more. It also covers how to efficiently see the city–where to stay and step-by-step itineraries. (Updated January 14, 2023.) Paris is a world capital of culture: everything from art to food […]
The Cayman Islands are the Caribbean’s most picturesque place, popular with travelers and cruise-goers. This vacation planning guide offers tips for visiting Grand Cayman, best & worst things to do, where to eat, hotel & resort recommendations, beach photos, and more. (Updated January 14, 2023.) The Cayman Islands are once again open to all forms […]