A World of Tea in Wazuka, Kyoto

Set in the southern part of Kyoto prefecture, and nestled next to Uji, Wazuka is famed as one of the finest tea producing areas in the entirety of Japan. Not only is the area ideal for growing tea, but for simply soaking in the scenery; rows of vivid green tea bushes undulate against blue skies…

Unknown Japan; Setouchi Islands

The less-visited region of Setouchi, the largest inland sea in Japan, surrounded by seven geographically diverse prefectures, is a place whose beauty is hard to describe; still azure waters broken by rising rocky mounds, some covered in lush vegetation, others sheer as if forced up from the sea bed only yesterday. Tiny towns of wooden…

Kyoto’s Hidden Bamboo Forest

A trip to Kyoto, for most, isn’t complete without setting your sights on the iconic Sagano (Arashiyama) bamboo grove. Long gone are the days when you could visit without sharing the spot with a host of other tourists, but it’s tranquility and beauty pales in comparison to the verdant green and undisturbed charm of Muko…

Unknown Japan; Rural Nara Part Three

For years tourists to Japan have been drawn to the country’s first capital, Nara. The ancient city where deer roam free and imposing temples as old as the founding of the city itself attract visitors in droves to marvel at the beauty of Old Japan. But there’s so much more to the prefecture, and of…

Kyoto’s Best Boutique Hotels

Kyoto has always been high on tourism destination hit lists, with popularity only increasing in the run up to this year’s Olympics. For a more intimate stay in this stunning city, from world renowned architects blending traditional Japanese design elements with modern minimalism, to guesthouses with a focus on curating locally-crafted finishings, I’ve put together…

Unknown Japan; Rural Nara Part Two

For years tourists to Japan have been drawn to the country’s first capital, Nara. The ancient city where deer roam free and imposing temples as old as the founding of the city itself attract visitors in droves to marvel at the beauty of Old Japan. But there’s so much more to the prefecture, and of…

Unknown Japan; Rural Nara Part One

For years tourists to Japan have been drawn to the country’s first capital, Nara. The ancient city where deer roam free and imposing temples as old as the founding of the city itself attract visitors in droves to marvel at the beauty of Old Japan. But there’s so much more to the prefecture, and of…

24 Hours in Kanazawa

Kanazawa is beautiful at this time of the year. It’s beautiful at any time of the year, but now, the air is crisp and cold, the trees are burning bright reds and yellows, and the snow crab is sweet, juicy and ready for eating. Famed for its delicious seafood, ancient culture and contemporary art scene,…

Kyoto Gardens

Experience peaceful landscapes amidst a buzzing city strewn with tourists. Be seduced by holistic hideaways in the form of Kyoto’s most beautiful zen gardens, synonymous with the city’s status of Japan’s cultural heartland. In a place where beautiful gardens number into their hundreds, you won’t be hard pressed to find a secret sanctuary, but here…

Toji Temple

Rising from the city skyline, Japan’s tallest pagoda at Toji is an elegant reminder of Heian Kyo, ‘the capital of peace and tranquility’ and now a symbol of this beautiful ancient city. The arrival of the imperial court in Kyoto in 794 brought with it the new Heian Jidai and the building of a new…

Kyoto’s Best Sakura Spots

It’s that time again. Spring is here and the air is filled with the scent of ume blossom, the pretty pink petals reminding us that sakura season is just around the corner. This year (2019), because winter was warmer than average, the cherry blossoms are expected to open earlier than average, with predictions for first…

Unknown Japan; Iya Valley

Driving into the Iya Valley (you must drive, the remoteness of the place makes public transport an almost impossible option), you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d driven onto the set of the latest Jurassic Park or King Kong film. Largely unpopulated, mountains rise from the land, their forested facades hiding many treasures. Historic minka…