Vegetarian Kaiseki in Kinosaki Onsen

Vegetarian Kaiseki in Kinosaki Onsen

Last month, I celebrated my birthday with a trip to Kinosaki Onsen in Hyogo Prefecture. Kinosaki Onsen is one of Japan’s most famous onsen towns; it sits near the Sea of Japan, about three hours by train southwest of Kyoto. Kinosaki Onsen has two major draws: the town’s seven volcanic hot spring baths (which have various properties, based on the springs that feed them) and the food, which I’d heard was some of the best in Japan. The town is most famous for snow crab and Tajima (Kobe) beef, but when I heard that Nishimuraya Honkan (the traditional Japanese inn

Read more

Kakigori – a Japanese Summer Treat

Kakigori – a Japanese Summer Treat

One of the things I love most about living in Japan is the seasonal nature of Japanese food. While it’s sad to have some of your favorite treats fall off the menu when the calendar changes, it’s also exciting to look forward to seeing your favorites return the following year (and having the chance to find new favorites, too). Last summer, my son and I discovered a delicious spot to get kakigori–the fluffy shaved ice that’s a favorite summertime treat across Japan. Kurashiki Coffee at Toritsu-Daigaku station offers three different flavors: strawberry, matcha (powdered green tea), and tiramisu–each with a

Read more

The Tō-ji Cherry Blossom Illumination in Kyoto (Tō-ji, Part 3 of 3)

The Tō-ji Cherry Blossom Illumination in Kyoto (Tō-ji, Part 3 of 3)

n April 2019, while finishing the 100 mountain climbs that became the basis for CLIMB, I visited Kyoto with my friend (and fellow author) Laura VanArendonk Baugh. By chance, our day in the ancient capital coincided with the final nights of the annual sakura (cherry blossom) illumination at Tō-ji, the UNESCO World Heritage temple that also happens to be one of Kyoto’s oldest sacred sites.

Read more