Japan

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 […]

Kobe Luminarie: Japan’s Wonderful Winter Illumination

Kobe Luminarie is one of the best winter light displays in Japan, a free event held early to mid-December in memory of the victims of 1995’s Great Hanshin Earthquake. We attended Kobe Luminarie and wow is about all I can say. In this post, we’ll offer some background about the event, plus photos and thoughts from our […]

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. Autumn is one of the most stunning times of the year in Japan, and one […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

What’s New in Kyoto, Japan – Part 2

We pick up from Part 1 of our What’s New in Kyoto, Japan post with more on temple construction, soda updates (including new Coke and Pepsi flavors), cool summer fun in northern Kyoto, and more. We’ll also share some ‘just for fun’ photos from this visit to Kyoto. But first, we encountered a family of […]

What’s New in Kyoto, Japan

We just got back from our summer trip to Japan, which included nearly two weeks in Kyoto. As we’ve already visited every major temple and shrine in the area, this visit was more about checking in on familiar favorites, eating at new places (for the sake of research!), and seeing seasonal events. In this update, […]