A Tale of Two Ryokans in Kyoto Japan


We have always wanted to stay in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese guesthouse where rooms are separated (or at least decorated) by paper screens, rooms are decorated tastefully, yet sparingly: floors covered with tatami mats, low dining tables at which you sit on cushions on the floor, mattresses that (after dinner) are laid directly on [Read more …]

Kyoto Restaurants and Food Markets

Kyoto has a lot of wonderful restaurants and food markets. We tried our best to sample as much as we could. Our ryokan dining experiences were special experiences that we will talk about in our upcoming blog on Kyoto Ryokans. Nishisaka, which is in the heart of Gion, specializes in Shaba Shabu, but offers [Read more …]

Exploring the Mysterious Gion District in Kyoto Japan


No trip to Kyoto Japan is complete without a visit to the Gion District. Originally developed in the Middle Ages for travelers and visitors to the Yasaka Shrine, the area evolved to become one of the most well-known geisha districts in all of Japan. We wanted to learn more about this lovely and mysterious [Read more …]

Kyoto: Temples and Castles and Gardens…Oh My!


The first and last time we were in Kyoto was special. Warm April days and evenings during Sakura (Cherry Blossom) celebrations, where Japanese humbly invite Westerners to join their celebratory picnics (with sushi and sake) as a favor to them–so they can practice their English. This, combined with the majesty of the temples, the serenity [Read more …]

Nagoya Japan as Destination City: Toyota Bound


We have some wonderful memories of our last trip to Nagoya Japan. Although we didn’t specifically select it as a destination, it was a convenient two-night stop for a day trip into the so-called Japanese Alps where we went to the Takayama festival, where men carry dozens of ornately carved, gilded, 17th-century floats around the [Read more …]

Nara Japan


Nara, which had its beginnings as the end of the Silk Road, became Japan’s first real capital in 710 AD. Since the capital moved to Kyoto prior to an era of conflict, it escaped many of the ravages of war, and was, therefore, able to preserve many of its temples and and shrines. While the [Read more …]

Osaka Japan


Japan was the last country that we visited on our 4 month trip to Asia.  We flew into and out of Osaka since it was the closest major airport to Kyoto (our main destination), rather than for a particular desire to visit the city. But between our flight into and out of the airport, and [Read more …]