Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji is the most famous temple in Nagano City. It has beautiful grounds and a lot going for it, but for this post, I want to try something different. I want to focus on the O-Asaji morning ceremony and my experience with it. This will be a long read (clocking in at just over 1500 […]

Read More Zenkoji Temple

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

When you tell people you are visiting Nagano, they will ask you if you’re going to ski or snowboard. After you tell them you aren’t, there is a small chance they will ask if you are going to see the snow monkey park. Every time you see snow monkeys hanging out in hot springs set […]

Read More Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

Daruma Festival

Kita-in Temple hosts many events through the year, but the one that caught my eye the most was the Daruma Festival, held on January 3rd of each year. I could already see hints of the impending Daruma flood on the evening of December 31st as temple-goers flooded the main building to offer prayers. Touted as […]

Read More Daruma Festival

Tokyo Christmas Market

I had asked the student what they were up to during the weekend and she replied that she was going to a German Christmas market deep in the heart of Tokyo. Intrigued, I asked her about the details and she showed me the website, replete with images of quaint cottages, cooked sausages, and a variety […]

Read More Tokyo Christmas Market

Hikawa Shrine

If you thought Enoshima Island had a monopoly on love shrines, you would be sorely mistaken! Just a few minutes up the road in Kawagoe is Hikawa Shrine, a famous Shinto Shrine near Little Edo. It brings in many visitors, and while its small size may not make it the most notable shrine, it certainly […]

Read More Hikawa Shrine

Rurikoji Temple

At the start of autumn, I found myself down in Yamaguchi city, on the southern part of the main island of Japan. I was exhausted and unable to motivate myself to do an insane travel schedule to see the nearby limestone caves, so instead, I decided to go to one of the top three temples […]

Read More Rurikoji Temple

Japanese Sweet Potato Treats

Kawagoe is famous for its sweet potatoes, as evidenced by its mascot being the adorable sweet potato. As such, you can find many sweet potato-based dishes, drinks, and treats scattered throughout the city. It’s the start of sweet potato season, and over the past few months, I’ve been slowly trying each of these treats and […]

Read More Japanese Sweet Potato Treats

Karatsu Castle

Just outside of Fukuoka is Karatsu, a small city with its own castle. I imagine this will be a common theme with many places I go in Japan, but, finally, I got to visit my first castle. The trip was a bit of a whirlwind, having only an hour before a work function to tour […]

Read More Karatsu Castle