A Guide to Namba and Dotonbori, Osaka After Dark

dotonbori signs, osaka

Any visit to Osaka, Japan must include a walk through its Namba and Dotonbori districts after dark. The massive flashing neon signs, hoards of people, and all the sights, sounds and smells truly bring these neighborhoods to life in the evening. But first, a little clarification: Are Namba and Dotonbori the Same Neighborhood? You may see Namba and Dotonbori used … Read more A Guide to Namba and Dotonbori, Osaka After Dark

Ginkaku-ji – The Temple of the Silver Pavilion in Kyoto

Ginkaku-ji Kyoto

Not to be confused with Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Ginkaku-ji is the Temple of the Silver Pavilion. Despite the name though, it’s not actually covered in silver leaf. In fact, it’s much more modest than the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. But in a way, this makes it even more special. The Silver Pavilion … Read more Ginkaku-ji – The Temple of the Silver Pavilion in Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji – The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, located in Kyoto, is one of those sites you have to see to believe. It manages to exist in its own world of contradictions, making it a fascinating site to visit. It’s both gaudy yet modest, touristy while still feeling local, and overcrowded while still … Read more Kinkaku-ji – The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

A Sweets-Filled Lunch at Karafuneya, Kyoto

parfait at Karafuneya, Kyoto

While doing research for our recent visit to Japan, one “must-do,” food-wise, stood out for me in particular. We absolutely had to stop in at Karafuneya, a coffee shop specializing in sweet, beautiful parfait desserts. Karafuneya started in 1972 in Kyoto, and they now specialize in making over 150 different types of desserts, parfaits and … Read more A Sweets-Filled Lunch at Karafuneya, Kyoto

The Weird and Wacky World of Japanese Gashapon Toys – Part 2

cup no fuchiko schoolgirl

Last week I talked about some of the gashapon capsule toys that Mark and I discovered while travelling through Japan. We brought back quite a variety, ranging from adorable to downright weird. But we discovered one series of gashapon toys that we both fell in love with – Cup No Fuchiko, or Fuchiko on the … Read more The Weird and Wacky World of Japanese Gashapon Toys – Part 2

The Weird and Wacky World of Japanese Gashapon Toys – Part 1

Gashapon machines

Do you remember the mystique and excitement of vending machines when you were a child? They were full of candy, bubble gum and various toys, and utterly irresistible. You probably also remember the distinctive sound as you turned the dial and anxiously awaited, with your tiny hand under the spout, to receive your surprise treasure. … Read more The Weird and Wacky World of Japanese Gashapon Toys – Part 1