Kyoto by the Sea

When imagining Kyoto, beautiful blue sea, tiny fishing towns and Naval ports aren’t the first things that spring to mind. To most, Kyoto means Kyoto City; the heart of Japan’s cultural heritage and home to the most UNESCO World Heritage sites of almost any conurbation on the planet. To most, Kyoto doesn’t mean glorious seaside,…

Incredible Ise

In May, during Golden Week, I decided to explore Ise. I’d been to the area once before during my first few months in Japan to visit the newly opened Amanemu (read about that here), but I didn’t really leave the hotel to investigate the area. This time I returned with intrepid travels as my goal,…

24 Hours in Osaka

It’s a travesty that I have lived in Kyoto for over two years and, until a month ago, had never visited Osaka. Only 45 minutes by local line train or 15 minutes by Shinkansen, if you’re feeling flush. Luckily my flat sits on the Keihan line, whizzing me from Gion-Shijo to Kitahama (central Osaka) in…

Guide to Gion Part Two; Drinking, Dining, Buying

Kyoto is renowned for being the home of craftsmanship in Japan. It also has the most kaiseki cuisine per capita, which makes it the perfect place to pick up a souvenir or dip into the wealth of culinary delights on offer. Following my earlier Walking Tour route of Gion, here I’ve chosen a few of…

Kamishichiken; Kyoto’s Oldest Geiko District

The cultural heritage of Kyoto is utterly astounding, but after spending over a thousand years as the capital, this isn’t really surprising. From temples to shrines to gardens, people flock to the city to see ancient landmarks and a glimpse of an era now confined to history books. Peculiarly and often overlooked is Kamishichiken; Kyoto’s…

My Guide to Gion; A Walking Tour

Famed as being one of the most mesmerizing districts in Kyoto, Gion is an area of stunning temples, maiko meeting places and local eateries that are perfect to while away a day in the ancient capital. Kyoto’s magic lies in it’s ability to preserve the old and welcome the new. The Station Building is testament…

Where to See Plum Blossoms in Kyoto”

Japan is known for its incredible seasons, particularly the spring when towns, cities and countryside are awash with colour from vibrant petals on myriad types of blossoming trees and plants. Although cherry blossoms – sakura – get all the glory, Japan’s blossom season starts in late February/ early March with the much more fragrant Japanese…

Kyoto’s Only Michelin-Starred Soba

Glowing from the natural light that streams through its front windows, Ogawa’s specialty is soba. Michelin-starred soba; a type of noodle that has been eaten in Japan for centuries. These tasty morsels are usually something that is knocked up at low-key eateries on almost every street corner across Japan, so it’s surprising to find a…

Beautiful Beniya Mukayu

A little more than two hours by train from Kyoto is the beautiful town of Kanazawa. Lying on the Sea of Japan in the Ishikawa prefecture, Kanazawa and it’s neighbouring towns have long been THE destination for native Japanese travelers. Being known as ‘Sho-Kyoto’ – that’s ‘little’ Kyoto to those of us who don’t parley…

Kyoto’s Michelin Star Restaurants

I’ve had a lot of people asking me about which Kyoto eateries have been awarded stars. Even though the Michelin system is great, Kyoto has a whole host of restaurants (even if I lived here five years and ate somewhere new every night I don’t think I’d get through them all!) that are begging to…

French Michelin Dining in Kyoto

Late last year, Michelin announced its star list for Kyoto. As soon as it came out I downloaded it and started planning dinners and lunches. I love good food, so I was excited. Kyoto, surprisingly, is home to a number of amazing French restaurants and so I sat and deliberated, settling on La Famille Morinaga…

Kyoto’s Top Temples

When you hear the word ‘Kyoto’ images of ancient temples and perfectly preserved pagodas spring to mind. The old imperial capital is home to over 1500 of them and each serves a special purpose, from bringing good fortune in your work life to helping you bag a date with that certain someone you’ve been admiring…