Leaving the city of Kyoto and heading north into the Japanese Alps for the city of Takayama was a much needed break from the fast pace of city life. Takayama…


Kyoto Yes, Kyoto Noh

An early start helped us beat the crowds to a special spot called Fushimi Inari. The shrines were originally dedicated to the gods of rice and sake, and later expanded…


Temples Temples Everywhere

Kyoto is Japan’s ancient capital. There is much to see and do: it’s got historical, cultural, natural, culinary, and modern treasures around every corner, and it can be totally overwhelming….


Osaka: More is More

Osaka is a great jumping off point for exploring the region. It has a bit of everything, and no doubt something for everyone. Like any big urban center, it can…


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Don’t Feed the Deer

We visited Nara for the day on the way between Sakurai and Osaka. Nara was the first permanent capital of Japan and has eight Unesco World Heritage sites. It is…


New Friends, Ancient Roads

We had the pleasure of our first couchsurfing experience with the Higashi family in Sakurai, about an hour south of Nara. For those not familiar with couchsurfing, it’s a program…



Since we were so close, we decided to make a quick trip to the island of Shikoku. Takamatsu was the natural choice because it wasn’t too far over the bridge…


Garden City Okayama: Home of Momotaro, Peach Boy

It seems every Japanese city has a hometown hero, mascot or theme. You see it in decorations, in gifts for purchase, even in the food. The story of Momotaro, the…

Hiroshima Genbaku Dome

Hiroshima and Miyajima

Hiroshima City Hiroshima was built on a delta, so rivers and canals crisscross the city at various points. Our hotel, Reino Inn, was at the western end of one of…