Himeji; Come for the Castle, Stay for the Sake

Himeji is a city famed for its castle. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s beautiful. Maybe even Japan’s most spectacular castle. Its grand size, beauty and immaculately preserved grounds have earned it the nickname ‘white heron castle’ for its pristine exterior that mimics the elegance of a heron in flight. The castle is both a…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Amazing Amanemu

The Japanese know where it’s at when it comes to relaxation. Onsen (Japanese hot spring) hotels are similar to our spas in the UK, but better. Think hot pools of healing water surrounded by zen gardens and the smell of incense. Even then you’re not close to imagining how amazing the real deal is. Trust…