Japan

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, […]

The Joy of Japanese 7-Eleven

When traveling in Japan, there’s one place that will save your day, bring great comfort, and fill you with joy: 7-11. No, we’re not kidding. We visit 7-Eleven more than anywhere else in Tokyo or Kyoto, and say that with absolutely zero shame. (To the contrary, we’re quite proud of it.) Drop your preconceptions and forget everything […]

Park Hyatt Kyoto Review, Photos & Video

Park Hyatt Kyoto is the newest luxury hotel in the Higashiyama District near Kiyomizudera Temple and Yasaka Pagoda in Japan. In this hotel review, we’ll share photos & videos of our room, common areas, and dining. We’ll also offer thoughts on our stay here, value for money/points, location, and how the Park Hyatt Kyoto compares to other […]

Tips for Christmas at Universal Studios Japan

“Crystal Christmas” is a holiday event at Universal Studios Japan celebrating the holiday season, running from November 14, 2019 until January 13, 2020. The holiday festivities at USJ’s Osaka park include a nighttime show, one of the most spectacular Christmas trees in the world, and lots of treats. In this post, we’ll share tips for Universal’s […]

Best Ramen in Kyoto, Japan – Part 2

Our Best Ramen Restaurants in Kyoto, Japan post is a great roundup of the city’s top ramen shops. However, the list “only” has 8 entries. What happens if you want to eat 9 bowls of ramen?!?! You’d be left high and dry! As huge ramen heads ourselves, we’d definitely eat more than 8 bowls of […]

Gion in Kyoto: Geisha, Dining & Shopping Tips

Gion is Kyoto, Japan’s famous geisha district, located between Yasaka Shrine and the Kamo River. This guide offers info & tips for visiting, dining & dessert recommendations, including Gion in a Higashiyama itinerary, and how to spot geisha. (Updated November 7, 2019.) Although Gion is a fairly small district, it packs a powerful punch. The […]