Japan

When Will Japan Reopen? September Update

A common question we’re receiving is when will Japan reopen and allow international tourists to enter? As a planning site with strategy for visiting Kyoto, Tokyo, and beyond, we’re closely monitoring all travel advisories and updates. (Updated September 23, 2020.) As background, the Japanese central government declared a state of emergency after much hesitation. At the […]

Kiyomizudera Temple Info: Kyoto, Japan Tips

Kiyomizudera is one of the most popular temples in Japan. Also known as the “Pure Water Temple,” it’s a Kyoto highlight, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and unequivocal must-do. This post features my photos from the temple, plus tips for avoiding crowds, and other assorted info about it. (Updated June 15, 2020.) Let’s start with some […]

2020 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 2020, 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 June 2, […]

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. We also discuss the current coronavirus closure. We won’t bury the lede–it’s one of the best things to […]

Ultimate 2020 Kyoto, Japan Planning Guide

Our 2020 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 April 7, 2020.) For obvious reasons, it’s […]

Hirano Shrine: Kyoto’s Sakura 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. In this post, we’ll offer hanami at Hirano tips and our thoughts on the Oukasai (Cherry Blossom Festival). As we shared in updates to our 2020 Kyoto […]

2020 Kyoto Cherry Blossom Guide & Sakura Season Viewing Tips

This guide to sakura season in Kyoto, Japan covers our favorite cherry blossom spots, best temples & shrines, tips & tricks for avoiding crowds, plus a 2020 cherry blossom forecast. 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 […]

Kawadoko River Dining in Kibune, Japan: A Fun Escape from Kyoto’s Crowds

Kibune is a mountain town located a short train ride north of Kyoto, and is a great place for escaping the city’s summer heat, humidity, and peak season crowds. In this post, we’ll offer dining recommendations for kawadoko, which are patios built over the river by restaurants in this rural village. This is something of […]

Ultimate Tokyo, Japan City Guide

Tokyo 2020 is only months away! Japan’s capital city hosts the Summer Olympics July 24 to August 9, and our Tokyo travel guide offers info & tips, things to do, transportation info, where to eat, best hotels, avoiding crowds, itineraries for the city, and everything else you need to know. Whether you’re visiting for the Olympics or […]

Japan Itineraries for Kyoto, Tokyo, and Beyond

Our 2020 Japan itineraries provide 1-day plans and step-by-step itinerary, strategy, and walking tours of Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, Nara, Miyajima Island, Kyoto, Uji, and more. These itineraries offer tips & info for temples to visit, where to eat, transportation, and efficiently seeing the highlights. (Updated January 7, 2020.) None of our Japan itineraries require use […]