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…

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…

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…

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…

OHara!

If you’ve had enough of the Kyoto cityscape and want to escape to a rural retreat only an hour from Kyoto, Ohara should be high on your list. Only 45 minutes by bus from central Kyoto, Ohara is a tiny town just on the northern limits of the City Famed for a Thousand Temples. There’s…

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…

Yunohana 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…