From the winter wonderland of Hokkaido to the pristine beaches of Okinawa, go off the beaten path and explore Japans’ many undiscovered destinations.
Japan was the first country we traveled to as a family of three. Here’s our take on how accommodating (or not) Kyoto and Osaka was to us throughout a whole week’s stay in Kansai.
The National Museum of Art is a monumental steel and glass structure resembling a bamboo shoot. The subterranean galleries hosts a wonderful mix of art works that includes Picasso, Warhol and Cezanne.
In a desert of glass and steel, Osaka Castle is an oasis of marvelous architectural impregnability. We spent half a day navigating through gigantic stone walls, deep man-made moats and strategically-placed turrets.
A trip to Osaka is never complete without a stroll along the neon-induced Dotonbori. This street and its adjacent canal is well-known for its street food, insane shopping and the omnipresent Glico Man.
We hit the bright lights of Osaka with an intense three-day food hunt across “Japan’s Kitchen.” Everything was not spared from the fluffiest cheese cake ever to the tastiest halal ramen in town.
A ryokan is a quintessential Japanese experience when it comes to hospitality, tradition and cuisine. Our stay in Momijiya Ryokan was a welcome retreat before embarking for the bright lights of Osaka.
Kyoto’s rural northwest is perfect for a day out with nature. Ride the breathtaking Sagano Romantic Train followed by a stroll along Arashiyama Bamboo Forest before ending the day at the zen-like Tenryu-ji.
A trip to Kyoto is incomplete without a visit to Gion. We visited the famed Yasaka Shrine, admired traditional townhouses, ate halal yakiniku and to top it off, a brief encounter with a real geisha.
“Kyoto’s Kitchen” is a 700-year old market full of stores selling seafood, fresh produce, sweets and snacks. We happily went stall hopping and ended up trying 10 foods for a wholesome Nishiki Market experience.