Kyoto: Temples and Castles and Gardens…Oh My!

The first and last time we were in Kyoto was special. Warm April days and evenings during Sakura (Cherry Blossom) celebrations, where Japanese humbly invite Westerners to join their celebratory picnics (with sushi and sake) as a favor to them–so they can practice their English. This, combined with the majesty of the temples, the serenity [Read more ...]

Nagoya Japan as Destination City: Toyota Bound

We have some wonderful memories of our last trip to Nagoya Japan. Although we didn’t specifically select it as a destination, it was a convenient two-night stop for a day trip into the so-called Japanese Alps where we went to the Takayama festival, where men carry dozens of ornately carved, gilded, 17th-century floats around the [Read more ...]

Nara Japan

Nara, which had its beginnings as the end of the Silk Road, became Japan’s first real capital in 710 AD. Since the capital moved to Kyoto prior to an era of conflict, it escaped many of the ravages of war, and was, therefore, able to preserve many of its temples and and shrines. While the [Read more ...]

Osaka Japan

Japan was the last country that we visited on our 4 month trip to Asia.  We flew into and out of Osaka since it was the closest major airport to Kyoto (our main destination), rather than for a particular desire to visit the city. But between our flight into and out of the airport, and [Read more ...]

Cheung Chau Island

As we had some extra time in  Hong Kong, we decided to take a short, one-half hour ferry ride to this surprisingly (at least to us) populous island that is 10 km southwest of Hong Kong.  It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot and not too cold. Perfect for island-tripping.

Although it [Read more ...]

Macau: China's Portuguese Corner

While Hong Kong is a very young city, Macau is relatively old. It was already an established town when the Portuguese first discovered the Pearl River Delta in 1515 and established their first settlement between 1553 and 1557. The Portuguese brought Jesuit missionaries as well as trade to the island and established a productive relationship [Read more ...]

Kowloon

After staying on Hong Kong island for a few days, we moved over to the Kowloon side to explore new territory.

If you’re looking to shop for jewelry or watches, Kowloon is the place to be: You can spend an entire day within just a few blocks of Nathan Road. Since we are not shoppers, [Read more ...]

Taipei Restaurants and Hotel

Restaurants

Taipei presented eating challenges to us as English was not as commonly understood as in other cities. And it didn’t help that many of the maps we were given did not include English names. Still, we persevered by getting recommendations from our hotel for restaurants, as well as counting how many streets we [Read more ...]

Re-exploring Hong Kong

Hong Kong has always been about the future. Although the island had been used for farming and fishing for millennia, its real history didn’t even begin until 1841, when the British secured rights to the island from China in return for lifting a shipping blockade Britain imposed after China initiated the Opium Wars (in an [Read more ...]

Taipei Taiwan

Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a new city with an ancient history. Although occupied by farmers as early as 1709, the area, due to its riverside location, slowly evolved into trading town. In 1875 it became the center of a new Chinese prefecture. Growth accelerated after 1895 when the Japanese temporarily took control of [Read more ...]