Tokyo Bento

One of the (many) pleasures of train travel in Japan is buying a delicious bento box to enjoy during the journey, especially if you are taking a longer trip on the shinkansen (bullet trains). Bento boxes sold for this purpose are so popular that they have their own name, ekiben – eki means station – and most ... Read more »

Enjoy Yakitori From Across Japan at Zenyaren, Tokyo

As with most addresses in Tokyo, Zenyaren is difficult to find. When your overnight but sleepless flight from London landed only a few hours ago, it’s doubly challenging. Luckily, Pete and I are with two Tokyo friends who manage, with the aid of smartphones, to track down my chosen venue. How did Tokyoites navigate their ... Read more »

Understanding Kyoto’s Temples & Shrines | Collecting Ema Plaques

Kyoto City of Temples With a staggering two thousand Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, City of Temples is an apt epithet for Japan’s former imperial capital. One of the delights of a trip to Kyoto is not only visiting the famous ones in all the tourist guides but stumbling unexpectedly across so many others as ... Read more »

Japanese Specialities: Amazake & Warabi-Mochi at Bunnosuke-jaya

Not much can beat a sunny day spent wandering from temple to temple in Kyoto’s beautiful Gion and Higashimaya districts. Although we’d recently paused to enjoy freshly made yuba, that didn’t reduce our enthusiasm to find Bunnosuke-jaya, an amazake specialist listed in Diane Durston’s Old Kyoto book. She explains that amazake is a sweet drink ... Read more »

Becoming a Rosetta Stone Blogger

I wanted to visit Japan for as long as I can remember. Every time I juggled the travel wish list, there it was near the top, beckoning me to book a trip. But the appeal of wildlife safaris in Africa, meandering self-drives in France, and cruise expeditions to Antarctica were also strong. Japan’s time never ... Read more »

Japanese Kit Kats: Wasabi, Roasted Tea, Rum Raisin, Cherry Blossom & More

Kit Kats are a quintessentially British chocolate snack, originally launched in London and South East England by Rowntree’s back in 1935. They quickly spread around the world and are now a popular sweet in many countries. The iconic “Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat” advertising slogan appeared in 1958, cementing the brand’s identity. Although ... Read more »

A Meander Through Kyoto’s Nishiki Market

Like our fascinating walk through Takayama’s Miyagawa Morning Market, Nishiki in Kyoto is full of wonder. Stall after stall of fresh and processed produce, kitchen cookware and tableware line a long and narrow glass-covered arcade that runs parallel to Shijō Street, a main commercial artery running east to west through the city. With Teramachi and ... Read more »