Planning resources and itineraries for Kyoto, Japan. Tips to save money, avoid crowds, best temples & shrines, plus tons of photos by Tom Bricker.

Higashiyama District in Kyoto – Tips for Visiting

Higashiyama District is a historic neighborhood in Kyoto, Japan nestled between Kiyomizudera and Maruyama Park. The area features restored traditional townhomes (machiya) with a variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, in a picturesque setting evoking the look of “Old Kyoto.” In this post, we’ll share photos of the Higashiyama District and offer tips for what to […]

Kodaiji Temple Info: Kyoto, Japan Tips

Kodaiji (高台寺) is a temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama District, located between Maruyama Park and Kiyomizudera. Kodai-ji Temple is famous for its nighttime illuminations, which occur for extended periods in the spring and fall. In this post, we’ll share photos of the temple, thoughts on our experiences there, and tips & info for visiting Kodaiji Temple. Kodai-ji […]

Kyoto Railway Museum Review, Info & Tips

Kyoto Railway Museum shares the the history of Japan’s railways from steam trains to the Shinkansen. In this post, we’ll review Kyoto Railway Museum, compare it to other major train museums we’ve visited in Japan, share photos from our visit, and offer tips & info. Japan has a lot of railway museums, and Kyoto Railway […]

Kyoto Hanatoro 2018: Higashiyama & Arashiyama

Hanatoro (花灯路, Hanatōuro) is a set of illumination events in Kyoto, Japan that occur in mid-March and mid-December in the Higashiyama and Arashiyama districts, during which thousands of lanterns light the streets, there are public art displays, and other illumination events. Translated literally to “Lanterns and Flower Lane,” Hanatoro is a festival in Kyoto that […]

Sanjusangendo Temple Info, Tips & Review

Sanjusangendo (三十三間堂, Rengeo-in) is a temple in central/eastern Kyoto famous for its 1,001 Kannon statues. In this post, I’ll share photos I took at Sanjusangendo Temple, its history, info & tips for visiting, and a review of our experience at Sanjusangendo. There are 1,0001 reasons to visit Kyoto’s Sanjusangendo Temple, but my photos here ain’t […]

Starbucks Cherry Blossom Food, Drinks, & Merchandise in Japan

Spring in Japan means sakura season, and while we’re still a few weeks away from the first cherry blossoms, Starbucks has released its line of sakura drinks, food, and merchandise designs. We stopped into the Starbucks near Kyoto Station yesterday to try a few items, along with photos of the merchandise. Worth noting is that […]

2-Day Kyoto Highlights Itinerary

If you’re traveling to Japan and plan to tour Kyoto for 2 days, this provides our itinerary for efficiently experiencing temples, shrines, and the most popular attractions in Kyoto to save time. In so doing, our 2-day Kyoto itinerary also offers a few suggestions for off-the-beaten-path ways to “stop and smell the roses” (or cherry […]

Ryoanji Temple Info, Tips & Review

Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺, Ryōan-ji) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northwest Kyoto, featuring the most famous Zen rock garden in Japan. In this post, I’ll share photos I took at Ryoanji Temple, info & tips for visiting, history of the temple, and thoughts on our experience here. While famed for that rock garden, Ryoanji Temple […]

Honen-in Temple Info, Tips & Review

Honen-in (法然院) is a free temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama area, located along Philosopher’s Path just south of the Silver Pavilion. In this post, I’ll share photos of the temple, offer brief history, info & tips for visiting, and why the experience at Honen-in Temple is so special. The approach to Honen-in Temple is quite lovely, […]

Kyoto Fall & Winter Trip Report – Part 3

All right! We’re finally back with the final installment of our Kyoto Fall & Winter Trip Report (if you’ve missed it, start with Part 1); the culmination of our 2-month stay in Japan. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in this final installment, so rather than beginning with a rambling introduction, I’m going to […]