Category Archives: travel

Japan: Kaiseki

Hidden away next to Kyoto’s river and bamboo forests in Arashiyama is a small restaurant Shoraian, serving traditional tofu multi-course Japanese meals (kaiseki).

While most kaiseki meals tend to be rather expensive ($100~300/person), Shoraian’s lunches are reasonably priced at $33~50/person (  I picked the most expensive meal option Shofu ($50/person) to try as many dishes as possible.

Japan: Nara (Part 2: Deer)

There’s only one place in Japan where you can find more free roaming deer than people…and that’s at Nara Park!  Before the 1637, it was a capital offense punishable by death for killing a deer (no joke!).   The park costs nothing to enter, but a bundle of deer crackers (鹿煎餅 Shika-senbei) can be bought for 200 yen ($1.80), which will guarantee massive deer attention!

Japan: Nara (Part 1: Temples & Scenery)

While most tourists in Japan will visit Osaka and Kyoto, many pass by a lesser known city, Nara, which is just 25 miles away.  This post will showcase Nara’s temples and scenery, while the following post will showcase the famous free roaming deer that populate the city.

Enjoy the tranquility of Nara during the fall season!

Japan: Satsuki and Mei’s House

One of Hayao Miyazaki’s most well known anime is his 1988 masterpiece “My Neighbor Totoro“.  Without ruining too much of the story for you, two sisters (Satsuki and Mei) move into an old rural house with their dad, where something special and magical happens.  As it turns out, this house was recreated in real life at the 2005 Expo (Aichi Commemorative Park) in Nagoya.  Everything in the house looks exactly in the anime, which is really amazing.

Japan: Fushimi Inari Shrine


inari (4 of 20)My favorite place in Kyoto is the Fushimi Inari Shrine — the most popular shrine dedicated to Inari (Shinto god of rice).  Stone fox status can be found everywhere as they are Inari’s messengers.

inari (7 of 20)

But what stands out the most are the thousands of orange/black torii gates.  These gates are funded by donations from individuals and companies.  The donations starts around $3,000 for a small sized gate and increases to over $8,000 for a large gate.  For what they had to pay, it is quite surprising visitors don’t have to pay a single yen to enter!  🙂inari (10 of 20)