• cherry blossoms,  international travel,  japan,  kyoto

    Kyoto – Spring Illuminations

    During cherry blossom season, several locations around Kyoto stay open at night and the buildings and trees are illuminated for all to enjoy. We had a few hours before nightfall, so we spent some time walking around the Higashiyama District of eastern Kyoto. We found a nice spot in Maruyama Park and people-watched. It was quite amusing watching some of the cherry blossom revelers, who couldn’t seem to hold their liquor and nearly fell into the pond.  We started making our way to our first illumination site: Kiyomizudera. The path leading to the temple is along a steep street that is lined with traditional wooden buildings that serve as shops…

  • eat and drink,  international travel,  japan,  kyoto,  Travel

    Kyoto – Bamboo, Shrines and Palaces

    Our original plan was to stay in Kyoto for two nights during our trip to Japan last spring. I quickly realized that would be entirely too little time and added a day trip from Osaka into our itinerary. We were able to fit in quite a lot over this beautiful spring day. Our day was filled with some of Kyoto’s most famous attractions. From Osaka Station, it was a short 30 minute train-ride to Kyoto. We started our day in the Arashiyama section of town. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s oft-photographed sights, and it is not hard to figure out why. The bamboo grove is an atmospheric and…

  • eat and drink,  international travel,  japan,  nara,  Travel

    A Day Trip to Nara (Japan)

    During our stay in Osaka last spring, we made a side trip to the ancient capital of Nara. Nara was the first permanent Japanese capital, beginning from the year 710, and remained the capital for a total of 74 years. We hopped on the JR train from Osaka Station and made it to Nara approximately 50 minutes later. From the JR Nara Station, we rode the bus headed towards the sights around Nara Park. The park is home to a thousand gentle, free-roaming deer. They are quite friendly and like to say hello to all of the tourists.  Our first sight of the day was Todai-ji Temple. Todai-ji is home…

  • eat and drink,  food,  other US travel,  phoenix

    Phoenix Eats

    Happy 2015!!! Hope you had a safe and festive New Years’ Eve! In addition to visiting with friends and running a 12K, Raisin Bread and I hit up a variety of eateries during our weekend in Phoenix. Essence Bakery 825 West University Drive Tempe, AZ 85281 We wanted a light breakfast prior to our 12K and decided on Essence Bakery in Tempe, which was near our hotel.  Essence Organic Granola – organic oats, barley flakes, wheat flakes, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, organic honey, dates, organic soy milk with yogurt I really did not enjoy this dish, especially the soupy consistency it had. It was also lacking any flavor of…