• Japan.,  Travel

    Traditional Tea Ceremony in Kyoto

    After my recent trip to Kyoto, I have a better understanding of the Japanese tea ceremony (chaji). I met up with very pretty Atsuko, the tea master and owner of Camellia Tea House in Kyoto, Japan. The tea house is a traditional 100 year old geisha ryokan in the Ninenzaka area which is in between Gion and Kiyomizu Temple and…

  • Japan.,  Travel

    Kiyomizu-dera

    The Kiyomizu-dera seats halfway up Otowa Mountain in the eastern part of Kyoto City. It is a historic temple established even before Kyoto became the capital of Japan at one time and is registered in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. There is the Main Hall (Eleven Headed and Thousand Armed…

  • Japan.,  Travel

    Roaming the Streets of Higashiyama District

    The Higashiyama District is one of Kyoto’s best preserved historic districts. You will come across lots of wooden buildings, narrow streets, very small old-fashioned shops, cafes and restaurants. The narrow streets leading to the Kiyomizu-dera are also lined with shops selling Japanese sweets and confectioneries, pickles, handicrafts, pottery and many other souvenirs. I spent almost a day wandering and browsing…

  • Japan.,  Travel

    Travelling Back in Time at Historical Jinaimachi

    I liked historical Jinaimachi in Tondayabashi. This is about 30 minutes by train from Osaka central. This Edo-period town is full of old wooden buildings and small shops here and there. Originally a temple town (Koshoji Betsuin Temple of the Ikko sect of Buddhism), it developed into a rural trade town in the 17th century. The old mansions, earthen walls…

  • Japan.,  Travel

    Nishiki Market

    The Nishiki Market is Kyoto’s largest traditional market. Whatever you need for Japanese cuisine is available here – rows of Japanese pickles (tsukemono), Japanese sweets (wagashi), tofu (kyo-yasai), different types of green tea, fresh seafood and shellfish. There are little shops selling takeaways of freshly cooked seafood, yakotori and other stuff too. You cannot eat fresher cuts of sashimi anywhere…

  • Japan.,  Travel

    Gion After Dark

    Gion is in the heart of Kyoto between the Kamo River and Higashiyama mountains and very popular with foreign tourists. Maple trees and cherry blossoms trees line the streets that is lined with teahouses, machiya (traditional wooden buildings), small castles, temples and shrines. Gion is very happening at night and you will feel as if you are in a 15th…

  • Japan.,  Travel

    Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama

    The Japanese honor the bamboo and you can see that in their myths and legends and they link the bamboo to a man’s strength. Many things are made of bamboo in Japan example cups, spoons, plates, mats, fences and many more. I visited the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, bamboo forests in their natural state. A trip to the bamboo forests…

  • Japan.

    Kamakura Farmers Market

    Kamakura, former capital of Japan is about one hour train ride from Tokyo. It is a historical place with winding streets, temples, shrines, shops and markets. The farmers market, Rensokubaijo is opened throughout the week. The products in the market are from local farmers. I did not see any tourists on the day I went. However, the place was lively…

  • Japan.

    Not Enough of Tokyo!!

    I found Tokyo almost spotlessly clean. Surprisingly, I did not come across any signage exhorting the residents to keep the city clean. I hardly found any graffiti anywhere. There was no rubbish nor dustbins overflowing with garbage along pathways. Though I saw a number of people walking their dogs, there was no dog poop anywhere. After meals, the people clean…

  • Japan.

    Cool and Cute Harajuku

    If you are in for “cool” and “cute” Japanese culture, head for Harajuku. This is north of Shibuya and a very fashionable, faddish and really crazy place for chilling out. On weekends, the place is so crowded – almost shoulder to shoulder with mostly youngsters. The most popular streets here are Takshita Street, Meiji Dori Avenue and Omotesando Dori Avenue.…

  • Japan.

    Samurai Temples

    All the spirits and mind of “Samurai” were born from this ancient city of Kamakura. Samurai spirits have always be associated with temples and Buddhism in Japan. Though there are temples all over Japan, it is believed that the real Samurai spirits exists only in the temples in Kamakura! Some of the temples you should visit are Meigetsu-in, Zeniarai Benten,…

  • Japan.

    Hand Crafted Soba

    Soba (buckwheat based) is the preferred noodle in the Kanto region in Japan, whereas, in the Osaka region, udon (wheat based) noodle is eaten widely. I had the freshest hand-made soba ever in my life in a restaurant in Kamakura. I watched the chef making it from scratch and ate it hot in a soy based broth. I was told…