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Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight

Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight

This season of my life is especially exciting, filled with new chapters and fresh starts. If you haven’t heard already, I’m ready to call Paris my new “home” for a few months starting in June! I’ve always dreamed of living in Paris. (I mean who hasn’t?) Making this dream into a fully fleshed out reality is fueling my creativity and deep love for Europe. It’s a leap of faith I’m so eager to make! So, when I realized that it was time to start researching logistics for my big move, I was very thankful to have Hotel Tonight help me with booking my stay in the City Of Light last-minute! Without a doubt their app saved my spur of the moment adventure to Paris for apartment hunting purposes.

Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight
With the instantaneous nature that our world seems to be embracing, having resources to make last-minute decisions is a lifesaver. Spur of the moment travels shouldn’t cause stress! It should be the most exhilarating, unexpectedly romantic experience a person can have. Using the Hotel Tonight app has literally saved me from massive headaches during my travels around the world. Should I have a weird layover or an unexpected business trip, I’m able to book some seriously gorgeous hotels with ease (and without the anxiety)!

For my stay in Paris, I was able to book a few nights in the Hoxton Hotel and Hotel La Comtesse. If you haven’t seen these two hotels smattered on your feed, welcome to an Instagrammer’s heaven!

Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel TonightLast Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight
Hotel La Comtesse is perfectly situated in the lively and classic left bank of the Seine. Probably my favorite feature of this concept hotel is its once-in-a-lifetime view of the Eiffel Tower from the windows. It’s the most perfectly Parisian scene to wake up to! The Hoxton perfectly combines the beauty of the old world’s architecture with new and innovative approaches to style. The hotel is quickly becoming influencers’ go-to lodging when in Paris, and for good reason. It was so amazing to have a place to reset while I was sifting through listings and running in-between apartment showings. Not to mention, the hotel is so easy on the eyes, it’s sure to spark anyone’s love and fascination for all things Paris!

Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight

Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel TonightLast Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight Last Minute Adventures Done Right: Booking With Hotel Tonight
I was so pleased to see both of these lovely lodgings on Hotel Tonight’s list of available hotels… as well as so many other gorgeous alternatives around the city. Without the ability to find a Paris hotel that morning, my successful hunt for an apartment might not have happened!

Invest in your free spirited travel whimsies, ladies! And don’t be afraid that the logistics won’t work out. With Hotel Tonight, you’ll be able to find last-minute hotel rooms that are just what you’re looking for. Whether you’re deciding to take a spur of the moment weekend trip or needing an extra night to extend your travels, Hotel Tonight is there to save your last minute trips. Their app quite literally saved my trip to Paris, and I’m so grateful. It’s always nice to collaborate with tech companies that I wholeheartedly believe in, such as this!


Stay sponsored by Hotel Tonight.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.
Wellness

Mass(age) Tourism: Ayurvedic therapy for anxiety in India

Top of the list of the things that I wanted to do on my trip to Goa was to immerse myself in the traditions of ayurvedic therapy during a lazy week on Palolem Beach.

I went online to find a practitioner, and as soon as I saw ‘psychosomatic massage’ I knew that I had to go outside my comfort zone and give this authentically Indian experience a try.

Ayurveda is a system of medicine that originated in the Indian subcontinent, often referred to as the ‘science of life,’ based on its translation from Sanskrit of Ayu (life) and Veda (science or knowledge). This method is over 3000 years old and it focuses on full-body healing.

Pain before pleasure

I booked my massage with a man named Ranjeet, who was described as a healer on TripAdvisor by the many travellers who swore by his methods. I was fascinated by the techniques he must use – especially as one woman said that the ‘relief was worthy of the pain’. How painful was this therapy going to be?

As a highly anxious person, I’m always looking for ways to unwind and reduce the intrusive thoughts in my mind, so I was prepared to experience a little pain…

Always check the reviews

For safety reasons, it’s important to always check the reviews before you book a massage as sexual assault does happen in rogue clinics in Goa. As I was a solo woman traveller I wanted to keep myself quite literally, in safe hands!

A small dark room

I had a degree of trepidation as I approached the hut, the place I was going to get my mind, body and spirit back in balance. I entered the small dark room, containing only a chair and hard bed not knowing what to expect. However, Ranjeet completely put me at ease – very important when you’re a woman in a room alone! He had a great sense of humour and I quickly realised mid-treatment that you have to have that to be an Ayurvedic therapist.

I do consider myself a ‘massage tourist’ as I’ve tried therapies all over the world – from Balinese massage to cupping therapy so I love to contrast different styles. Psychosomatic massage is certainly different to anything I’ve tried before – a few elements were similar to getting a seeing hands massage in Nepal – but it’s a whole different genre.

For a start, it was very long – 90 minutes and he asks you about what you want to get out of it, with the aim to release the tense emotions (blockages) that have built up in your body. It’s important not to eat for a couple of hours beforehand, as if you have, and they work on your stomach then your breakfast may make a reappearance.

‘Emotional Blockages’

A part of the job as an Ayurvedic healer is to analyse the tension that they feel in your body. He told me that the left side of the neck represents pain caused by a woman and the right is for men. The female pain was older than 10 years and the masculine tension was very fresh and much more pronounced.

I hadn’t had an argument with a female friend since my early twenties but my partner had inadvertently caused me grief on the trip. He’d been very ill during and after we trekked to Everest Base Camp and then again in India where he had his bag stolen. So yes, his theory was right but it could be a lucky guess, based on my age and sexuality.

Another diagnosis was that my lymphatic drainage system wasn’t working as I didn’t drink enough water. Apparently, dehydration makes skin more sensitive so that was something that I didn’t know.

‘Healing’ hands

Once the treatment began, it was incredibly vigorous as it’s a deliberate attempt to create heat from friction to make your muscles more malleable. The peak of the pain came when he stuck his finger under my armpit which was like nothing I’d ever experienced before or since. Although if I’d experienced childbirth, I probably wouldn’t be saying that! Helpfully, Ranjeet warns you when pain is imminent.

He surmised that I’d suffered from depression in the past and he identified the pressure points for stress, anxiety and anger, which he then pressed – hard. It took me through the gamut of negative emotions and then back to relief when he stopped let go after what felt like an incredible length of time.

Ranjeet refers to the agony of the massage as ‘sweet pain’ and encourages you to laugh and cry to let go of your feelings. As a deeply repressed British person who is wound pretty tight, I could do neither of those things! It took all of my willpower not to walk out the door.

The Aftermath

You do need a few sessions to work out the various knots and embrace the intensity of the treatment. Apparently, it hurts less a second time, and I would love to try it again to see if I could learn to accept the pain and release it more successfully! That evening I felt slightly weepy and light-headed but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

He told me that I would be in pain the next day and I certainly was – I also had small circular bruise marks on my skin due to the amount of pressure on my blood vessels. The bruises were a sign that he’d really worked hard on my ‘blockages’, so I wore them as a badge of honour.

Treat Yourself

Even though I felt like I was a long way from absorbing the spirituality that pervades everyday life in India, embracing Ayurvedic medicine felt like a big step toward it. I’d only been in India for two months at this point, so I was just an infant traveller in this mammoth country.

Anyone that backpacks around India deserves a massage – journeys are long and sometimes uncomfortable, at times you have very little personal space and sometimes figuring everything out can be stressful at times.

It’s a wonderful reward after long days that it takes to absorb the overwhelming and intriguing sights of India. You might even inadvertently heal something along the way. Ayurvedic massage is a uniquely painful bodily experience that your mind and muscles will never forget

Travel Planning Trips

Traveling On a Tight Budget: How Next Vacay Can Take You Places

Taking a vacation is the perfect way to disconnect from your busy schedule and reconnect with the world around you. However, if your budget is tight, finding the funds for a lavish trip might feel impossible. Enter Next Vacay, your go-to resource for finding the best flight deals and putting your vacation within reach.

The Breakdown: What Next Vacay Is

Next Vacay is a subscription-based service that gives you access to the best deals on flights to just about anywhere in the world. It’s different from other flight deal service providers in several key ways. First, you only see deals on flights leaving from your nearest airport(s). No more sifting through pages of flights that don’t apply because they’re departing from other states. Your flight deals are customized for your location, allowing you to see where you could travel to for a great price.

Another difference is that Next Vacay’s powerful and innovative system uses advanced technology to search thousands of flight databases. You’re not limited to a single airline or flight site. Instead, you get the best possible deals as soon as they pop up, sent directly to your email. All deals are verified by the Next Vacay team before they are sent, ensuring that you have accurate information to help you make a decision about when to book.

Airlines often sell discounted tickets to fill flights, but those seats tend to go quickly. If you don’t know where to look or you don’t have the time to spend hours sifting through options, you could end up paying more than you have to for a flight. Next Vacay simplifies the process, connecting you with the best possible prices on flights to a wide range of destinations.

Another key difference between Next Vacay and other flight providers is the fact that Next Vacay is not a third-party booking agent. You book directly with the airline via the link sent in the email from Next Vacay. By booking directly, you can eliminate the middleman and ensure that you’re connected to the airline in the event of a flight change or delay.

Who Is Next Vacay For?

Anyone who loves to travel and save money is a prime candidate for Next Vacay. Flexible travelers tend to get the most value out of the subscription, as the deals that pop up may include dates that fall outside your planned vacation time. If you can adjust your departure or return date, even by a few days, you may be able to score a lower price for the flight.

Make the Most of Next Vacay

It’s helpful to have some flexibility in your departure and arrival location. Driving a few hours to a nearby airport could help you save, as could traveling through a larger hub airport and connecting to your final destination on another flight. Successful Next Vacay users also tend to act quickly, which means staying connected to their email. When an alert comes through, you may need to jump on it to get that price. Flight prices change quickly, depending on demand.

How to Find Cheap Flights With Next Vacay

The first step is signing up with Next Vacay, which authorizes the company to start sending you email alerts about cheap flights. The company offers a free trial period of 30 days, allowing you to start your search at no cost. After the trial period ends, the service only costs $25 per year, so it’s an affordable way to save on flights in the long term. During the signup process, you’ll enter your home airport location. If any airports are within a few hundred miles of that location, Next Vacay will include deals leaving from those airports as well.

Get Started 

After you sign up, Next Vacay’s system will begin scanning the databases for flights departing from your nearest airport(s). When any lower-priced tickets pop up in this search, the flight deals team at Next Vacay will verify to determine whether they should be included. You’ll then receive an instant alert after the verification process is successful, which will include details around the ticket price, the range of dates for which that price is available, and the destination. If it looks good to you, click the included link and book your ticket at that affordable rate.

Pros and Cons

Using Next Vacay provides a number of benefits to those who want to score discounts on travel. You can use the system to find flights to destinations all over the globe, including within your home country and to places across Europe, Australia, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. The deals provided via the emailed instant alerts will typically include flights available immediately as well as those up to 10 months out, with a range of dates that allow for some travel flexibility.

If you travel from many different locations and don’t necessarily have a home base, Next Vacay may not be as helpful for you. The system works by searching for deals from your home airport location and other airports within a few hours’ drive, so if you don’t have a location to enter, it won’t be able to perform the database searches. On the bright side, if you have multiple airports you travel out of frequently, you can set up an alert for several, you’ll just need to get in touch with their support team for them to customize your account.

Next Vacay is the most effective if you have some flexibility with your destination and travel dates. If you have firmly set travel plans, Next Vacay can’t guarantee that they’ll find a deal for you to that specific place, within that specific time frame. But, to offer the most flexibility, the team sends deals that are valid up to 10 months away. If you’re able to book quickly, this should still allow you plenty of time to make vacation arrangements at your job. Those who have to request time off and receive approval before booking may also have trouble making the most of Next Vacay, but to offer the most flexibility, the team sends deals that are valid up to 10 months away. If you’re able to book quickly, this should still allow you plenty of time to make vacation arrangements at your job.

No matter your travel budget or where you want to go on your next trip, Next Vacay can help you find affordable flights that make it possible to take that vacation you want to experience. Get started with your free trial and start scoping out the best prices on flights from your nearest airport.

Featured Lifestyle

Items Bringing Us Joy During Social Distancing: Autumn Edition

As we continued to navigate this “new normal” way of life, we’re making the most of the little things that bring joy and we’d love to share those with you as we continue on into the fall season. We do feel that it’s important to continue to stay safe and to find adventures and things to fuel the traveler’s soul within our own hometowns, cities and destinations nearby that don’t require a lot of travel. Now, more than ever it is important to work together during this pandemic so we can all move forward to a brighter future. I’ve been using this time I have in New York City to become more in touch spiritually, in search of healing,  helping others, making my home cozy and treating myself to the little things I’ll be sharing in the post below. I hope they bring you joy too!

Calhoun & Co. Butterfly And Moth Woven Throw Blanket

My mom always used to call me butterfly because she said I’m fragile yet resilient and although I’m always flying away, I eventually come back so it’s no wonder my heart exploded when I found this blanket! Brooklyn based Calhoun & Co. is a gift and home decor line with a mission to bring joy and they do it well. Their inspiration comes from community, friendly faces, interesting places, and spending Saturday morning cozied up with a cup of coffee and their dog, Slug!

Simplify Your Cookware with Just One Magical Do-It All Pan

We don’t know about you but ever since the world went into lock down, cooking has kind of been our new thing and the experience has been enhanced by the brilliant Always Pan by Our Place. Living in New York City comes with its challenges- like not having enough cabinet space but the Always Pan is designed to replace EIGHT traditional pieces of cookware! It acts as fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. It’s also GORGEOUS. Our Place also offers stylish and really well made dinnerware and glassware.

We also greatly admire the founder, Shiza Shahid who is also the co-founder of the Malala Fund.

Relax with Hemp CBD

We all know 2020 has not been easy for majority of us. heck, we wouldn’t even be sitting here writing this post right now if it weren’t for all of the drastic changes happening in the world! We would probably be relaxing on a beach in Greece but here we are in our home city of New York, anxiously waiting for better days. One way I’ve been able to stay as relaxed and chill as I can be is by taking KindUrth™ Organic Hemp CBD gummies. They have been a lifesaver! I’e tried many other brands but they just didn’t do it for me until I tried KindUrth™.  Organically grown in the USA  and are non-gmo, vegan, gluten free and 3rd Party Lab tested for purity and quality. My favorites are the 1500 mg Premium CBD Gummies (THC Free).

Cozy Jacket by Heartloom

For those quick runs to the grocery store or outdoor dining with friends, we love the super cool Patrice Jacket by Heartloom.

Olive & June The Nailfie Ready Box

We are huge fans of Olive & June, based  and now even more so with these gorgeous fall colors! The box includes an 8-piece mani system of tools and products to help you achieve the prettiest mani from home.  It doesn’t hurt that their branding and packaging are absolutely brilliant, fully quipped with even a holder to prop your phone so you can have FT manis with friends!

Silk Masks by Claire & Clara

Being in New York City during the entire lockdown and witnessing everything we did during those few months has made us huge advocates of wearing masks as evidenced by the way New Yorkers truly flatted the curve and it has stayed that way because majority of us wear masks. With that being said, finding fashionable masks with filters has become a fun hunt! We discovered these gorgeous satin masks by Claire & Clara and were so excite to see that they also include a PM2.5 Filter. *Disclaimer via website: – This is NOT a medical device. This product should NOT be used as a replacement for conventional and approved Personal Protective Equipment (surgical or N-95 masks). The product has not been industry-tested nor has it been NIOSH approved.*

Fresh Work Out Gear by Outdoor Voices to Get You Motivated to Stay Active

I just recently discovered Outdoor Voices for new workout gear and I am in love! I pretty much live in the TechSweat 7/8 Leggings. They’re incredibly comfortable and I love switching it up from the usual Black with their gorgeous Evergreen color. I pair it with the TechSweat Cami Tank Top which has a built-in shelf bra, removable pads, and adjustable straps.

Stay Safe, Sanitized and Give Back with Clean Beauty VIVI Naturals

We’re loving the VIVI Naturals hand sanitizer that comes in a gel or spray form with a blend of Vitamin E, Peppermint Oil, Aloe Vera, Lavender and Ethyl Alochol. All of their products are Vegan and natural: Sulfate, Paraben, Silicon and Phthalate free and are created using clean, feel-good ingredients and packaged using recycled glass, paper and materials that meet the highest environmental standards. I also love their mission of giving back by partnering with Hunger in America & the internationally recognized World Vision Organization.

Get Inspired for Future Trips with Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure Coffee Table Book!

Our dream is that the Dame Traveler book transports you to every corner of our beautiful planet. We hope you sift through each page and imagine yourself there, soaking in cultural experiences, scaling mountaintops, learning from locals, discovering new, untouched European towns or road tripping through America.

Even if your travel plans have halted, the world is still your oyster. And we hope each and every page keeps that fire to adventure glowing until the right time comes to hop on that plane. Available at @westelmdumbo, @westelmbroadway, @strandbookstore@mcnallyjackson @rizzolibookstore in nyc and @barnesandnoble @target @blackwellbooks @powellsbooks and more.

Get Cozy at Home with Custom Designs by Sasha Hayatt Designs

We have been living in these gorgeous lounge wear pieces, custom made by Dame Traveler, Sasha Yakoub herself! She’s constantly updating her website and Instagram with new designs so be sure to follow along to stock up on all of the cute coziness for this fall season!

 

Asia Guides Insider Tips

City Guide to Kyoto, Japan

I have visited Kyoto many times since I moved to Japan, yet it will never stop to amaze me. This former Japanese imperial capital is full of mysterious temples, majestic palaces, beautiful Zen gardens, and picturesque back alleys with traditional wooden town houses. It is a big city with small town charm and immense cultural heritage. However, it can be quite overwhelming for a first time visitor, because there are so many places to see. I prepared this article to help you plan your stay, it includes not only my favourite places to visit, but I added some extra activities to make your trip more memorable.

Best Places to See

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari Taisha is one of the most impressive and popular sights in Kyoto. This mountainside Shinto shrine is dating back to 711 AD and its main feature is a path made of thousands of traditional torii gates in vermilion colour. The area is truly picture-perfect and therefore very touristy. If you wish to get a photo without people, you have to come here very early in the morning, or you can try to come late at night as the shrine is open 24/7. In the evening the lanterns light up the way. Another option is to hike all the way up to top of the hill, where not many people go and the views are spectacular.

Fushimi Inari shrine is located on the south of Kyoto and you can get there by Nara Line from Kyoto station. The journey lasts only 5 minutes. The entrance to the shrine is free.

Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion

Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion was named, together with Mt. Fuji, as one of the greatest sights in Japan and it is easy to understand why. Surrounded by stunning Zen Garden with its reflection in the pond, shining in the sun, this sight can honestly leave you speechless. The pavilion was built in the 14th century as a retirement villa for a military commander, but after his death his son turned it into a temple.

Golden Pavilion is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and the price is 600 yen per adult. To get there, you need to take the bus 205 which leaves from Kyoto Station from the B3 platform. Even though Kinkaku-ji is very popular and usually very busy, it is a must-see place in Kyoto and totally worth the longer bus ride!

The Path of Philosophy

The Path of Philosophy (also called the Philosopher’s Path) offers a quiet retreat from the city and it will lead you to many historic sites along the way. The stroll lasts approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your pace. It starts at the Eikan-do Temple, a lovely temple with famous Buddha statue looking over his shoulder and finishes at Ginkaku-ji Silver Pavilion. The path goes along a stream and it is lined with cherry trees, so this place is especially beautiful in spring when all the flowers are in bloom.

Gion District

Gion is very traditional neighborhood in Kyoto that has developed in Middle Ages as one of the most exclusive geisha districts in Japan. The chances that you will meet a geisha today are very small, but Gion is a lively and picturesque area to visit. The streetscape is very well preserved with high concentration of typical ochaya (teahouses) and machiya (merchant houses). Be aware though that many of these houses are private and their inhabitants do not wish people to take photos of them, so be respectful (you wouldn’t want to have masses of tourists in front of your house every day either).

The two most popular streets where you can take beautiful pictures are Ninenzaka and Sanenzaka.

Nishiki Market

Nishiki market, also called the “Pantry of Kyoto” is a lively place located in the city centre, where you can find hundred stalls with street food, fresh produce, sweets or handmade souvenirs. It is a perfect place to sample some unique dishes and enjoy the atmosphere. If street food is not directly your cup of tea, there are also many restaurants nearby.

Kiyomizu Dera Temple

Kiyomizu Dera Temple is one of Kyoto’s most famous and enjoyable temples. It was founded in 778 AD, and it’s a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main hall, situated on the hillside of Mt. Otowa, has a large wooden veranda from where you can enjoy epic views over the city. The entrance fee is 300 yen per adult and it is open daily from 6 am to 6 pm. It is walking distance from Gion, or you can take one of the city buses from Kyoto station (numbers: 106, 110, or 206).

Heian Shrine

Heian Shrine was modelled after the ancient Imperial Palace and it is dedicated to the spirits of the first and last emperors who reigned in Kyoto. It belongs to the newer shrines in Kyoto, with its history dating back only about hundred years, but it has very impressive spacious grounds featuring a gorgeous garden full of weeping cherry trees that bloom around mid-April. There are a couple of museums in walking distance from the shrine, where you can hide in case of rain, and at its entrance you will also find some food trucks with Japanese and international dishes so you can take a nice break here when sightseeing all day.

Heian Shrine can be reached by Kyoto city bus number 5 or 100. The entrance to the temple is free, but if you want to visit the gardens you have to pay 500 yen per person. The shrine is open daily from 6 am to 5 pm (hours can differ during public holidays).

Top Things to Do

Stay in a Traditional Ryokan

Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns that can be found all over the country. They offer you more than just a place to sleep, you will get here the opportunity to experience the real Japanese lifestyle and hospitality. In a classic ryokan, you will sleep on futon beds in tatami rooms, you can soak in famous Japanese bath and sample the local cuisine. Staying at least one night in ryokan is a must when visiting Japan.

Relax in an Onsen

Onsens are Japanese natural hot springs containing distinctive minerals. Soaking in an onsen after a busy day of sightseeing is one the essential experiences to have in Japan. Onsens can be public, or private as a part of ryokans. Kyoto is not very rich in onsen, but there are still a few to found around the city. Before visiting an onsen it is important to mention that there is an etiquette to follow – you have to take a shower first and you go inside without a bathing suit. Some more traditional onsens can forbid people with tattoos to enter.

Try a Kimono on for a Day

Nowadays, kimonos in Japan are used mostly for special occasions like weddings or official holidays. It is very rare to see young people wearing this formal attire daily. However, Kyoto is one of the cities where this tradition hasn’t quite disappear and people use kimonos frequently. There are many shops and kimono rentals so it’s easy to pick one and get the real kimono experience in the streets of Kyoto’s historical old town. The kimonos are beautiful and you usually get the full “make-over” including hairdo like geisha, make-up, wooden slipper shoes and little pouch for your necessities while browsing the city.

Kaiseki Feast

Kaiseki is a celebration of Japanese tradition, fresh seasonal and local produce and haute cuisine. It is traditional Japanese multi-course high dining with a long history that originated centuries ago in tea ceremonies and later it evolved into exclusive cuisine popular among aristocratic circles.

Kaiseki can be quite pricey and intimidating, if you haven’t got this experience before. The elegantly presented dishes often look like a piece of art and some restaurants don’t appreciate if you take photos of them. That is why I would recommend booking a food tour that takes you to kaiseki, where an experienced tour guide will lead you through each dish and tells you more about its cultural context.

Join a Food Tour

Japanese cuisine is very complex, it goes way beyond sushi, miso soup and ramen that are popular all over the world. Each Japanese city and each region have their own local cuisine and they take a great pride in using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. If you are a foodie and you would love to know more about Japanese food, I am sure you will appreciate a good food tour, where you will discover the whole philosophy behind each dish and its cultural and historical background.

There are plenty of food tours or cooking classes to choose from in Kyoto that suit all the budgets.

Getting Around Kyoto

The city centre of Kyoto is compact and easily walkable, however, if you want to get to further destinations such as Fushimi Inari Taisha or Bamboo Forest, you will have to use the public transport. Metro, trains and city buses are the most convenient way to get around. Taxis are very expensive in Japan so if you are traveling on budget, I wouldn’t recommend using them.

For international travellers the most convenient mean of transport are the city buses that have commentary in English and they take you to all the important sites. One journey costs 230 yen for an adult and you pay directly to the driver at the end of your journey, or you can buy a daily ticket in the office at the Kyoto station for 600 yen. Kyoto city buses are green and easily recognizable. They operate with numbers 5, 17, 100, 204 and 205.

Best Time to Visit

Kyoto can be visited and enjoyed in any season, but the best time to visit is spring and autumn. At the end of March and beginning of April, the cherry blossoms are in bloom and everything is covered in light pink. It is simply spectacular! Beginning of November is just as magical when all the leaves turn red, orange and yellow. Also the temperatures are moderate with little rainfall. However, keep in mind that these seasons are also the busiest.

Summers in Kyoto can be very hot and humid. The rainy season starts in June and continues until the end of July. Winters are relatively mild with January and February being the coldest months of the year.

Unique Souvenirs to Buy

Green tea – Japan, and Kyoto especially, takes pride in its green tea – matcha in Japanese. You can find matcha and matcha-related products anywhere in Kyoto, from convenience stores to high quality green tea leaves sold in big department stores.

Kimono or Yukata – Kimono and yukata (lighter kimono worn in summer) are also great souvenirs to buy in Kyoto, as there are many shops that sell them. Kimonos can be pretty expensive but yukata is usually a cheaper alternative.

Hand-made hand fan – summers in Japan can get very hot and you will see many people using hand-fans. They are colourful, cute and beautiful, and apart from being useful during hot summer months, they also make a beautiful souvenir to remind you of your trip to Japan.

Umbrella – I don’t mean the Japanese paper umbrella to protect you from the sun, but proper umbrella for the rain. In Japan you can buy high quality umbrellas in specialty shops that will protect you even during a typhoon. They usually have twelve collapsible ribs for extra protections against the wind and many of them have also UV protection against the strong sun.

Unique Kit-Kat chocolates – famous Kit Kat is one of the most popular sweets in Japan because its name is pronounced similarly to ‘kitto katsu’ which means good luck. You can find here many different flavours that you cannot find anywhere else in the world – from green tea, to sake, to soy bean paste, to apple pie, you name it! You won’t know which one to choose!

Kanzashikanzashi are traditional hair ornaments often worn with a kimono. They are very fine and usually hand-made. It can be difficult to attach them at first, so make you sure you ask for instructions in the shop how to use them. They are a very unique special gift.

 

I hope this guide to Kyoto will help you to plan your visit! Kyoto is very popular and beloved tourist destination for a good reason. I love to come back every time I get a chance! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. Have you ever visited Kyoto? Or would you like to go there?

 

*This post is for the inspiration for your future travels. As per 10th August 2020, Japan remains closed for international visitors until the end of this year.

 

 

 

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