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,…

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…

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 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…

Kyoto’s Koyou

Now that we’re well and truly into winter, I’ve been reminiscing about the wondrous autumn that Kyoto has. Trees ablaze with reds and oranges set the scene in the city and surrounding mountains last November and I was lucky enough to share it with friends and family from the UK who came to visit. It…

Old Kyoto

Arriving into Kyoto station you’d be forgiven for thinking that this ancient capital was perhaps not so well preserved. The station building; a towering structure of glass and steel surrounded by neon signs of karaoke bars, shops and the illuminations of the Kyoto Tower, an antenae-like symbol jutting from the city’s skyline.  Don’t get me…

Hiking Mount Hiei

Many people come to Kyoto and expect an old, traditional city; ancient temples bursting forth from behind tiny, winding streets lined with wooden machiya. To an extent this is true, a city with one of the largest UNESCO World Heritage sites in the entire globe, it’s any Japanophile’s Mecca when it comes to an era-immemorial…

Anniversary Onsen

I love onsen. It’s maybe one of my favourite aspects of Japanese culture. So naturally, for our wedding anniversary this year, I decided to book my husband and I in for some much needed onsen indulgence at Sumiya Kiho-an, a dreamy ryokan in the mountains to the west of Kyoto. We headed to Sumiya, first…

Top Scotch Cocktails

If you’ve ever visited Japan, you’ll know that the Japanese have a serious love for Scotch whisky, you just have to step inside the Scotch Malt Whisky bars in Tokyo and Kyoto to understand how deep that love affair runs.  Scotch sailed into Japan in 1853 on the back of a U.S navy ship, where…

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…

Japonica Painting Party

This is Sunday’s done right. Wake up late, cappuccino in bed, read the papers and slowly tear myself away from my super soft sheets that always seem that much softer and comfier on a Sunday morning. This Sunday I was slightly more excited about getting on my garb and heading out the door. Firstly, it…