Backstreets and Alleys, Kyoto

A very narrow alley, barely wide enough for two pedestrians side-by-side, running from Shijo-dori to Sanjo-dori, one block west of the Kayo River, Pontocho Alley is one of Kyoto’s most atmospheric dining streets. It offers a wide variety of dining options, from inexpensive yakitori to exclusive establishments requiring the right connections and a very fat […]

Incoming Message from the Big Giant Head, Daibutsu at Todaii-ji, Nara

Todaiji, “Great Eastern Temple”, is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples. Construction started in 728 AD and was completed in 752 AD. It served as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan until it grew so powerful that the capital had to be relocated from Nara to Nagaoka in […]

Kinkaku-ji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Capped by snow in winter, set against the lush green of summer, or enveloped in autumn foliage – nothing is as symbolic of Kyoto as Kinkaku-ji. Perhaps even more so, its golden reflection shimmering across the rippled surface of the pond before it. This temple has been destroyed by fire numerous times, in the conflagrations […]

Ryōan-ji, Peaceful Dragon Temple, Kyoto

Ryōan-ji, a Zen temple located northwest of Kyoto, eponymous with its more famous rock garden, is truly one of the most serene places on earth. The temple garden is considered to be the finest example of a kare-sansui, or zen rock garden, in Japan. It’s my favorite garden in the world. The garden is best […]