The Last Bookstore: Reading is Cool in Los Angeles

The Last Bookstore is an iconic location in Downtown Los Angeles, transcending its place as California’s largest seller of new, used, and rare books into a quasi art installation. It’s also a cultural touchstone connecting the Age of Literacy to the Post-Information Age. This post share photos from inside, info and tips for visiting, and […]

2021 Yosemite Firefall Best Dates & Viewing Tips

Yosemite National Park’s Firefall at Horsetail Fall is a natural phenomenon visible for ~3 weeks each winter. This post offers tips from my experiences, best dates & viewing locations, new reservation info, California snowfall, and more. (Updated February 2, 2021.) First, you can read about my most recent photography attempt in Firefall Snowy Weekend Photo Report from […]

When Will Japan Reopen in 2021?

When will Japan lift its travel ban and reopen for international tourists? As a planning site with strategy for visiting Kyoto, Tokyo, and beyond, we’re closely monitoring all advisories, the latest news, and progress. (Updated February 1, 2021.) Japan’s central government has extended its second “soft” state of emergency until by one month until March […]

Kyoto’s Hidden Gem Special Night Illumination

One of Kyoto, Japan’s best autumn illuminations is held at Konkaikomyo-ji or Kurodani Temple. This is near Heian Shrine, Shinnyodo, Honenin, Eikando, and other popular fall colors spots. We attended its special evening opening and share our photos and thoughts on the experience here. If you’re looking for a normal overview of the temple, daytime […]

Ultimate 2021 Kyoto, Japan Planning Guide

Our 2021 Kyoto, Japan guide offers planning tips & tricks, hotel recommendations, best temples & shrines, transportation hacks, where to eat, crowd info, why we love the city, and more. Before we get to the basics, we’ll offer a brief note on travel to Kyoto later this year. (Updated November 12, 2020.) For obvious reasons, it’s […]

Keyhole Arch “Light Show” on Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach

A few weeks each winter, a natural phenomenon lines up sunset through Keyhole Arch on Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach. If you’re in Monterey, California in December or January, it’s a must-see. This post shares peak dates, photos, and tips for experiencing this ethereal “Light Show.” (Updated November 11, 2020.) As with so much, things are […]

2020 Japan Fall Colors Forecast & Autumn Foliage Viewing Guide

Our fall colors forecast for Japan offers peak viewing info & tips for popular autumn foliage spots, including Kyoto, Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Miyajima, Hiroshima, Himeji, and Nara. We’ll also share strategy for visiting the best temples, shrines, and evening illuminations. (Updated November 11, 2020.) Autumn is one of the most stunning times of the year […]

2021 Universal Studios Japan Guide & Tips

This guide to Universal Studios Japan offers tips & tricks for visiting Osaka’s popular theme park, which is home to Wizarding World of Harry Potter and in 2021, Super Nintendo World! This includes USJ strategy & info about where to eat, what to do, how to avoid crowds, minimize wait times, and more! (Updated November 10, […]

1-Day “Best of” Los Angeles Itinerary

Have one day in Los Angeles and want to see the city’s highlights? This step-by-step guide is a jam-packed plan that includes the top 5 things to do in L.A., including free museums, beaches, and dining. It’s an ambitious Los Angeles 1-day itinerary, optimized to avoid driving & time stuck in Southern California traffic. (Updated […]

Fall Colors in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland and Akron, Ohio is not one of the “big name” US National Parks, but it features beautiful fall colors. This post shares the best spots for autumn foliage, leaf peeping, a fabulous fall hike to a waterfall, and the current operating status of CVNP. (Updated September 23, 2020.) Let’s […]