Tips & Tricks

Tips & tricks for traveling, from choosing the right gear to the best ways to save money on vacations, and more.

Tips for Surviving Crowds in Kyoto, Japan

No city has been as impacted by Japan’s rising tourism numbers as Kyoto. Crowds during cherry blossom and fall colors seasons can be oppressive, as can national holidays and school breaks. In this post, we’ll offer a sober appraisal of the congestion you might face in Kyoto, plus ways to survive and avoid the worst […]

Yosemite Firefall Photography & Viewing Tips

Yosemite National Park’s Firefall at Horsetail Fall is a natural phenomenon visible for about 3 weeks each year in February. This post offers tips based upon my experiences, plus updates on the parking and viewing procedures for 2019, recent California weather patterns, and how both could effect the Firefall. (Last updated February 21, 2019.) First, […]

Kyoto on a Budget: Money-Saving Japan Tips

Visiting Japan is not cheap. Kyoto, in particular is known for ritzy restaurants, luxury hotels, and a level of personalized service via teahouses, ryokan, and geisha performances that are expensive. With that said, it is possible to do Kyoto on a tighter budget, and in this post we’ll cover money-saving tips for that. The easiest way to […]

What to Pack for Kyoto, Japan & Clothing List

Our Kyoto packing list includes travel gadgets, unique items, and clothing suggestions that will improve your trip to Japan. Everything on this comprehensive ‘what to pack’ will save you money or make your Kyoto experience more comfortable and pleasant. The first part of our Kyoto, Japan packing list highlights things you never knew you needed […]

November 2019 in Kyoto, Japan

November features Kyoto’s peak fall colors, plus a full calendar of special events, nighttime illuminations, and a few festivals at temples and shrines. Despite the heavy crowds, it’s an excellent month to visit Japan, and you’ll have too many choices for seasonal things to do during a November trip to Kyoto. In this post, we’ll offer a […]

When to Visit Kyoto, Japan

When to visit Kyoto to avoid crowds, experience the best seasons, and enjoy the top festivals is a common question for first-timers to Japan. There is no single worst or best time to visit, and when you should travel to Kyoto depends in large part on your priorities. In this guide, we’ll narrow down your […]

Top 100 Temples & Shrines in Kyoto, Japan

With over 1,600 temples and shrines, Kyoto is unquestionably the spiritual capital of Japan. This list of Kyoto’s 100 best temples and shrines is narrowed down from the 200+ that we’ve visited during our months in the city. From Kiyomizudera to Golden Pavilion to Fushimi Inari, Kyoto is home to some of the best places […]

Keyhole Arch “Light Show” on Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur

For a few weeks each year during the Winter Solstice, the sunset casts an ethereal glow through Keyhole Arch on Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach that is absolutely breathtaking. This natural phenomenon doesn’t have fixed dates, but if you’re in Monterey, California in December or January, it’s a must-see. In this post, we’ll share tips for […]

Tips for Christmas at Universal Studios Japan

“Wonder Christmas” is a holiday event at Universal Studios Japan celebrating the holiday season, running from November 9, 2018 until January 6, 2019. The festivities at Universal’s Osaka park include a nighttime show, one of the most spectacular Christmas trees in the world, and plenty of holiday treats. In this post, we’ll share tips for Universal’s […]

Best Japan Railway & Train Museum Rankings

Japan has a lot of museums devoted to railways and transportation, and we’ve visited the best of these near Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kyoto. During our two-month stay in Japan last year (documented in our Brickers’ Fall & Winter Japan Trip Report), we used the trains countless times and took several Shinkansen rides courtesy of our […]