Withlocals: Taipei Highlights & Hidden Gems with Cola

One of the best things to do in a new city is to enjoy it like a local. Withlocals made doing just that easy and convenient with connecting you with local guides for various tours and experiences. So when I was in Taipei, I booked the Best of Taipei: Highlights and Hidden Gems tour one afternoon….

Trip Recap: Taipei

Hey everyone! It’s been almost a month since I left New Jersey for my “big solo trip” and I already have tons of photos and incredible experiences to share! So get ready for some long pic-heavy posts! Be sure to check out my Instagram for the latest stories! My first stop was Taipei, Taiwan where…

A Visit to Miyajima (Itsukushima)

After enjoying a delicious lunch of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, I took the local train to Miyajimaguchi Pier to catch the ferry to the island of Itsukushima, popularly known as Miyajima. The small island in Hiroshima Bay is best known for friendly deer roaming around and the giant orange Great Torii Gate that marks the entrance to…

Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest

After walking around some of Arashiyama’s gorgeous gardens, it was time to head to one of the most popular attractions in all of Japan – Bamboo Forest. Also known as Bamboo Grove, there’s a walking path that cuts straight through. Standing in the midst of all the soaring stalks of bamboo was really cool! Strolling…

A Tranquil Koyasan Morning

I already mentioned how gorgeous Japan was during the Fall. After prayers with the monks, we had a chance to explore the grounds of the sacred mountain for a bit and walk along a nearby path surrounded by vibrant colorful trees. It was so quiet, so calm, so beautiful. Going to Mount Koya and staying…

Jewelry Candy and My Soul Forever

After my yummy tonkatsu lunch, I met up with my sister so we could head to the art museum. But first, we had to stop for a sweet fluffy treat at Jewelry Candy. The small shop serves up some deliciously colorful cotton candy. I haven’t had cotton candy in years, but apparently my sister is…

Lunch at Katsukura

Japanese cuisine is my absolute favorite! Sushi may top the list, but another Japanese dish I can’t get enough of is tonkatsu (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet). One of the best of the tonkatsu chains is Kyoto-based Katsukura. I stopped by for lunch one afternoon. There are several locations in Kyoto and I went to the…

Kyoto’s Nishiki Market

Located near our hotel was Nishiki Market (錦市場, Nishiki Ichiba), a narrow street five blocks long lined with over one hundred restaurants and shops. Known to locals as “Kyoto’s pantry,” Nishiki Market is easily the best traditional food market in the city. It was fun to browse and many shops give free samples. We enjoyed…