Japan

Japan Cherry Blossom Forecast for 2024 & Kyoto Sakura Season Viewing Guide

This guide to sakura season in Japan and cherry blossom flowering forecast for 2024 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 March […]

Best Cherry Blossom Nighttime Illuminations in Kyoto

Evening illuminations during sakura season are popular at temples, castles, and gardens in Kyoto, Japan. This list shares the best nighttime cherry blossom spots throughout the city, with 2024 dates & details, plus our recommended 1-night itinerary if you only have a single night to see all of the special lights. We’ve experienced sakura season […]

Where to Stay in Kyoto, Japan

This guide covers where to stay in Kyoto, with recommendations for the best area of the city. We also weigh pros & cons of various styles of accommodations: Japanese lodging (machiya & ryokan), luxurious or budget-friendly hotel rooms, top Airbnbs, and more. (Updated March 14, 2024.) No matter how long you’re staying in Kyoto, you […]

Hirano Shrine: Kyoto’s Sakura Season Party Scene

During spring sakura season, Hirano Shrine is one of the top spots in Kyoto cherry blossoms. Its nighttime illuminations and parties are among the best events in all of Japan. This post offers hanami at Hirano tips and our thoughts on the Oukasai Cherry Blossom Festival. (Updated March 14, 2024.) As we shared in updates […]

Cherry Blossom Night Lighting at Kiyomizudera Temple

For sakura season, Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, Japan has special night illumination. We’ve visited during the night lighting for cherry blossom season many times, and share some of our experiences, photos and tips we’ve learned during the visit. (Updated March 14, 2024.) During the 2024 cherry blossom season, Kiyomizudera Temple is open for nighttime illumination […]

TeamLab Review: Tokyo Top Pick or Tourist Trap?

TeamLab Planets and Borderless are interactive digital art museums in Tokyo Japan that offer galleries of immersive and Instagrammable surreal installations. This review explains what that actually means, shares photos from inside the exhibits and covers whether it’s worth the time, money & effort to visit, plus tips for buying tickets. teamLab offers a number of temporary exhibitions […]

Restaurant Reviews & Food Guide for Universal Studios Japan

Our Universal Studios Japan restaurant reviews feature food photos from dining spots throughout the park, menu photos, and tips for what to order while at this theme park in Osaka, now including Super Nintendo World. From cute snacks to hearty meals, and Mario to Harry Potter to Hello Kitty, we’ve got you covered! (Updated March […]

2024 Japan Fall Colors Forecast & Autumn Foliage Viewing Guide

Our 2024 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 March 11, 2024.) Autumn is one of the most stunning times of the […]

Guide to Christmas 2024 at Universal Studios Japan

“NO LIMIT! Christmas” is a holiday event at Universal Studios Japan from mid-November 2024 through early January 2025. The holiday festivities include a stage show, record-setting tree, decorations in Super Nintendo World, and more. This guide shares our tips for USJ’s winter entertainment, plus our experience and photos. (Updated March 11, 2024.) Dates have not […]

Studio Ghibli Museum Review & Tips

Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan is a tribute to anime films, and the technical & creative process of animation. This review covers whether it’s worth the time, money & effort to visit, plus tips for buying tickets. (Updated March 7, 2024.) We won’t bury the lede: Ghibli Museum is one of the best things to […]