From Kyoto

Imperial capital of Japan

Nara Day Trip

Although only 45 mins away from Kyoto by train, Nara (奈良市) is often overlooked by time-pressed travellers but, as Japan’s first permanent capital with over 1300 years of history, it’s worth the short diversion. After a chilly trip to Kyoto back in March I spent half a day exploring it on foot. Read more

Sagano Bamboo Forest

When writing about places of natural beauty it’s always tempting to overuse every adjective in the book, so I’ll try and hold back the gushing prose when describing Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama (嵐山), on the western outskirts of Kyoto. Read more

Kōtō-in Temple

Of all the temples and shrines I’ve visited in Kyoto, my favourite has to be the little-known Kōtō-in (高桐院), a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji (大徳寺). I discovered it purely by chance four years ago on my first trip to Kyoto and decided to pay a return visit. Read more

Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion

Unlike the brightly decorated temples found in China, most in Japan are fairly sedate, preferring natural wood finishes over ornate red, green and gold motifs. Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) in Kyoto, otherwise know as the Golden Pavilion, is an exception with the majority of its exterior covered in gold leaf. Read more

Ryōan-ji Temple

Something you’re bound to see plenty of in Kyoto are zen gardens, otherwise known as “dry landscape” gardens (枯山水 karesansui). One of the finest examples can be found at Ryōan-ji (龍安寺) located in the northwest of the city which is thought to have been built in the 15th century. Read more

Kennin-ji Temple

After a chilly walk along the Philosophers Path in the morning, I headed south to Gion and the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto – Kennin-ji (建仁寺). Dating back to 1202, its grandeur is not immediately apparent but step inside and you’ll enter another world. Read more

Path of Philosophy

Mid-March I took a trip back to one of the first places I visited in Japan in 2010 – Kyoto. While it’s undoubtedly on the itinerary of every tourist to the country it’s surprisingly unspoilt, with more than enough interest to warrant a return visit. Read more

The Essence of Zen at Daitoku-ji

After walking along the Path of Philosophy in the morning I took a bus to what turned out to be my favourite part of Kyoto that I visited during my trip. Daitoku-ji (大徳寺) is a temple complex which contains more than twenty sub-temples and some of the finest examples of Zen architecture and design in Japan, including gardens and tea ceremony rooms. Read more

9 hours Designer Capsule Hotel

I’ve been lucky enough to stay at some very nice hotels over the past couple of years but in Japan I was on a tight budget and determined to try something a little different. Originally created for businessmen who worked too late to catch the last train home, capsule hotels (カプセルホテル) have developed as an economical alternative to normal hotels in a country where space comes at a premium. Read more