Japan

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Japan, a country of contrast, where technology and culture exist in harmony, the land of rising sun is a treasure trove for history fans and nature lovers alike. The beautiful architecture, the exquisite cuisine and the heart-felt hospitality are some of the things that made me want to go back there again and again.

Higashiyama 東山区 : Maiko Kikushino, Maiko Kikune and Maiko Fukuyu

KYOTO 京都
The former capital of Japan.

EAT:
Roan Kikunoi is an affordable and casual offshoot of the famed Kikunoi*** . (4000 Yen and above)
Sakurada for their exquisite and affordable kaiseki meals. (4000 Yen and above)
Misono Teppanyaki serves yummy Kobe style teppenyaki beef steak with a view. (1500 Yen and above)
Ichisun feel at home with izakaya style dishes and a great host. (1000 Yen and above)
Tre Verdi, tasty Italian in Uji that stole our hearts. (1200 Yen and above)
Kyoto Wagashi, Japanese sweets turned into sculptures.
Katsukura, a chain of restaurants specializing in Tonkatsu.
Manshige, a colourful Japanese set meal at Kyoto Station.
Saga Tofu Ine, be amazed by the Kyoto's tofu cuisine! (ar. 1000 Yen)
UCC Cafe Plaza (CLOSED), yummy hamburger steak. (400 Yen and above)
Gyozan-en, colourful and sumptuous bento. (2000 Yen and above)
efish Cafe, a designer cafe with a view of the Kamogawa. (399 Yen and above)
Nakamura Tokichi (Uji Station), don't miss out on their matcha desserts! (ar. 900 Yen)
Ikkousha at the Ramen Street, conveniently located on the 10th floor of Kyoto Isetan. (ar. 900 Yen)
Honke Daiichi-asahi, a long-running Kyoto Ramen-ya. (ar. 800 Yen)
Benkei (Higashiyama), specializes in udon noodles. (ar. 800 Yen)
Daimaru, Takashimaya and Isetan : Bentos in Kyoto (399 Yen nand above)

SEE:
Hiei-zan, a sacred mountain to the northeast of Kyoto with views of Lake Biwa on the east.
Arashiyama, yudofu and scenery and the annual Arashiyama Hanatouro
Gion Matsuri, one of the most important festivals in Kyoto and throughout Japan.
Kiyomizudera, one of the most visited temples in Kyoto.
Kinkakuji and Ryoanji, a tale of gold and rocks.
Katsura Rikyu, a famous imperial villa that was inspired architects such as Bruno Taut.
Gingakuji, gardens that you must visit.
Higashiyama, historical buildings and geishas.
Ninnenzaka and Gojozaka, a beautiful street in Higashiyama.
Nishiki Market, the kitchen of Kyoto.
Tetsugaku no Michi, a scenic path along a canal between Ginkakuji and Nanzenji.
Kyoto Station, an "outstanding" modern structure in the middle of the ancient capital.
MoMAK, a piece of architecture designed Fumihiko Maki and has a portfolio by Ansel Adams.
Kurama, a suburb north of Kyoto with an onsen to soak in and a temple with a view.
Kibune and Kurama ,in the fringe of winter.
Inari, where is the famous torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha are.
Ohara, a Shangri-la north of Kyoto.
Uji, the Green Tea paradise.

Toji Kobosan , a huge flea market at the Toji Temple.

Tadao Ando in Kyoto, works of the famed Japanese architect in the ancient capital.

SLEEP:
Khaosan Kyoto Guesthouse, everything you need in a hostel with a central location.
Kyoto Hana Hostel, a conveniently located hostel near Kyoto Station.
9 Hours Teramachi, capsule hotel that you probably won't want to book online.
Yasumoto Ryokan, run by a friendly elderly Japanese couple.
Kazariya Guesthouse, affordable lodging along Gojo dori.
Ohara-no-Sato, superb dinner and comfortable rooms with onsen baths in Ohara.

Osaka 大阪 - Dotonbori 道頓堀

OSAKA 大阪
A modern, bustling port city and international gateway to Kansai.

EAT:
LUXE Tajimaya, classy ambience and steaks cooked in front of you.
Public Kitchen, an unpretentious cafe in Shinsaibashi.
Nakau, a fast food chain in Japan.
Fukutaro, don't miss out on the delicious Osaka-style okonomiyaki!
Salon de The Alycon, a tea salon serving afternoon teas.

SEE:
Osaka, a city teeming with life and lights.
Umeda, the bustling financial heart of Osaka.
The Church of Light, an amazing piece of architecture in Ibaraki, designed by Tadao Ando.

Kansai International Airport, the international gateway to the Kansai region, designed by Renzo Piano. Probably the first airport built on reclaimed islands and started the trend.

There are a few ways to get to Kyoto or Osaka from the airport, one could use the Nankai Airport Express or Haruka Limited Express. To get a better deal, invest in a JR Kansai West Pass or a round trip Haruka Icoca.

SLEEP:
Chisun Hotel Shin-Osaka, an affordable hotel located next to Shin-osaka Station and subway.
Osaka Hana Hostel, an affordable hotel located in Shinsaibashi district.

Nara 奈良 - Tōdai-ji 東大寺

NARA 奈良
An ancient capital that dates back even before Kyoto.

EAT:
Kohikan, pleasant western breakfast in the morning. (200 Yen and above)
Yatagarasu, first time trying Yamoto chicken and ice cream tempura.
Dining and bar haco, modern dining in ancient Nara.

SEE:
The Nara deers and the largest wooden structure in the world, the Todaiji.

SLEEP:
Guesthouse Nara Komachi, friendly and modern, well equipped accomodation in Nara.

Hikone Castle 彦根城 - Tenshu

HIKONE 彦根
A castle town next to Lake Biwa and home to Hikonyan. Here you can find the tasty, melt-in-your-mouth Omi beef and one of the few original castles in Japan, the Hikone Castle.

Nagoya 名古屋

NAGOYA 名古屋
Another modern city that serves as the gateway to the Chubu region of Japan and a major transport hub along the shinkansen lines.

EAT:
Hiroshima Honten, delicious and filling okonomiyaki.

SEE:
Nagoya, a modern city with architecture by Kisho Kurokawa and with one of the largest train stations in the world.

SLEEP:
Hostel Ann, a friendly and cozy and affordable hostel located in Kanayama, a station away from Nagoya.
 

makan corner

the moose & snowman

the soft toy. the soft toy.

drawing board

ON ALT stunning photography.

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