It wasn’t all about sushi, but we did have a lot! This was the very first stop on our journey and we were amazed by the enormity of the city. Bright lights, huge buildings, and unbelievable energy.



Done as a day trip, which was perfect for us, Nikko was a breath of fresh air after a few days in the big city.



We could’ve spent so much more time in this beautiful city. There is so much to explore and we didn’t get to see everything so we’ll have to come back. The shrines are numerous, the bamboo forest is magical, and we seemed to find an endless supply of gyoza, obviously. While we’re not sure we saw any real geisha, we were satisfied by the tourists playing dress up and touring around town.



Exiting the subway station, you will be greeted by dozens of deer. They’re looking for lunch so be careful or they might nip you in the tush! If you happen to visit during the summer light festival like we did, by sundown you’ll get to see the entire city covered in lanterns which is pure magic!


Kawayu Onsen

When you look for Kawayu Onsen in the travel guide, don’t expect to find it. This place is a bit out of the way, but it is important for two reasons – it has a fairly famous onsen (hot spring) and is along the famous pilgrimage trail, Kumano Kodo. This is where we began our three day trek along through the jungle to the coast. It was also our first onsen experience, which you should definitely read about in our blog.



Koguchi is a place that you’ll never visit, unless you are hiking the Kumano Kodo trail. We stopped here for a night in the middle of our trek. It’s not particularly note worthy, but we had a wonderful onsen experience, swam in a clear blue mountain river, and met friends at our guest house. It was the respite we needed from the heat and humidity of the trail.


Kii Katsuura

The final stop of our three day hike! It’s also probably not a place you’ll ever go. We were the only Western tourists. It’s noteworthy for two reasons – it is the main port for Blue Fin tuna and the Nachi Waterfall. Our hotel was a welcomed comfort after a few days on the trail. The all-you-can-eat blue fin tuna buffet did not follow our sustainability ethos but it filled our hungry tummies in a very satisfying way. The Nachi Waterfall is very special. It’s remote, beautiful, and has a beautiful temple at its base. For many reasons, we would recommend a walk on the Kumano Kodo, and this will be your reward at the end.



We were fortunate to have a local guide in Osaka, friend and fellow foodie, Manmeet really showed us the town! Come ready to eat!



Yet another place we had never heard of until our friend said, go to Okinawa. These islands are special. Gorgeous, blue water and colorful beaches. Expect to be some of the few western tourists and be prepared to navigate without English menus. The water is what you imagine when you dream about a vacation from your office. It’s a relaxed place to be and expect to spend each evening watching epic sunsets. It’s out of the way and worth it!



Paradise was found here! Just a five minute walk into the ocean and we found ourselves on a private sandbar. It was worth the sunburn to be out there as long as we were!



The biggest, most remote, and least populated of the Okinawa islands. We went snorkeling with gorgeous fish on the dying reefs, climbed mountains, swam under waterfalls, and kayaked through mangroves. This place represents incredible diversity and a chill, rustic vibe.

1 comment

  1. Comment by Don Pastor

    Don Pastor Reply December 30, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    The frequent comment that these are places that we would likely never get to, find, or even know about, goes without saying. But thanks to you, they have been discovered and captured by your beautiful pictures and comments. I hope I am not invading your soul by enjoying your travels so vicariously.

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