Sakura Season is Upon Us! 

It’s that time of the year again. The sun has got her hat on, the tourists have descended and those elusive little petals have begun to bloom in Kyoto. I love sakura season. There’s a subtle pink glow that makes everything feel that little bit warmer and more magical. I mean, it is seriously beautiful…

My First Ikebana Experience

Since moving to Japan I’ve been fascinated by everything. I mean everything. The food, the history, the culture, the language… you name it and I’ve mused upon it. In particular, there’s a concept here in Japan known as wabi sabi; the belief that the beauty of something is found in its imperfections and transcience. The…

Hiroshima; So Much More Than History

Last September a very good friend of mine came to visit me in Japan. We spent our time exploring together and our travels took us on a journey to Hiroshima and the beautiful Hiroshima Bay (our adventures in Miyajima I’ve already written about here). I’m sure that everyone is familiar with the name Hiroshima and…

Springtime Sakura Recipes

This weekend in Kyoto, the sun was shining and the first ume blossom had started to poke their way through a few fat buds at the end of some rather wintery-looking branches. The little pops of pink got me thinking about sakura season and how it’s observed in Japan.  I’ve mentioned before the significance that…

Oh My, Umeshu! 

February in Japan is a wonderful time. Although I have to admit that it is still pretty cold, there are glimmers of spring and the blossoming of Japanese plum – ume.  Lovely Ume is a delicious and hugely popular fruit in Japan. It’s used in everything – it’s the pinky paste with the tasty tang that you’ll…

Hiking in Higashiyama 

Where the city meets the mountains is my favourite place in Kyoto. Beautiful scenery, traditional buildings and some of the best shrines and temples in town. When I think of Kyoto, I definitely think of a city, but being surrounded by mountains, you’ll be surprised to hear that there are some great hikes to be…

Magical Miyajima

Miyajima. The island that stole my heart. The most beautiful place that I’ve visited in Japan (so far). It’s actual name is Itsukushima and is found nestled in Hiroshima bay, but it’s lovingly known as the ‘Shrine Island’ or Miyajima to non-Nihongo speakers. According to legends, Miyajima has long been regarded as an island of…

ArashiYAYma

Usually when people think of Kyoto they see a bustling city filled with traditional machiya, beautiful temples and geisha roaming the streets. It is of course, but it’s also so much more. Completely surrounded by mountains, Kyoto has stunning countryside on its doorstep and a personal favourite place to explore is Arashiyama.  In the western…

How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning? 

It’s the weekend, I need coffee, I need eggs. It’s Japan. Where do I go for for my coffee and eggs? Well, it just so happens that Kyoto is essentially the culinary capital of Japan and for a few years now coffee has become almost as big as tea… OK, I might be exaggerating slightly…

Pork and Peppers, Kyoto Style

So, this meal is my take on an exceptional dinner that was cooked for us by a Japanese friend. He is a ceramicist and makes the most beautiful ceramics I’ve ever seen. He also moonlights at the local (and frickin awesome) craft beer brewery, Kyoto Brewing Company. Once a month he invites people to his…

Navigating Nara

What I loved most about Nara was the connection to nature that you felt everywhere. Beautiful temples crafted from ornate, carved wood that were nestled amongst trees, lakes and pristine parkland. Not to mention the deer! It just felt so different to Kyoto, no better, no worse, just beautiful. Most people go to Nara for…

River Top Dining at Kibune

Like something from a fairytale, Kibune – in the north of Kyoto – has a magical feel. Maybe it’s the warming, yellow glow that seeps through the trees or the closeness to nature that you feel wandering past the pretty river. There’s definitely something in the air that for me at least, transported me to…