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 (http://www.shoraian.com/menu/).  I picked the most expensive meal option Shofu ($50/person) to try as many dishes as possible. Reservations is required. Read more…

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!

nara (30 of 78)

There are the following instructions on what to watch out for!

nara (78 of 78)

Let’s go say hi to all these sacred deer!  Most were friendly, hungry and curious….but a few were aggressive!

nara (61 of 78)

nara (64 of 78)

(more…)

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!

nara (3 of 78) nara (4 of 78)nara (5 of 78) (more…)

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 Read more…

Japan: Fushimi Inari Shrine

  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. But what stands out the most are the thousands of orange/black torii gates.  These gates Read more…

Japan: Yoroniku

One of the most amazing meal I had in Japan was with our Tokyo experts Peter and Diana at Yoroniku, a yakinuku restaurant (grilled meats).  Wow!  I can confidently say that meal has surpassed everything I’ve ever experienced…and mind you, not the individual meats (which were very high grade), but the Read more…