In Japan, December is the beginning of the winter illumination season. Well, to be quite honest, some places open their illuminations even earlier (some as early as October!), but for the most part, December is the month where it really seems like you can’t walk a few feet without running into an illumination. They pop […]


Moving right along with my catch-up posts, in December, one of my friends organized a day trip to Kobe! I’ve only been to Kobe once before, on a field trip last year that left us with only for a few hours to see Kobe’s Chinatown and the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Museum. So up until […]


In November, I took a few friends northeast to Shiga-ken, the prefecture next door to Kyoto that is home to Japan’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Biwa. For ages I’d been wanting to make it to Ōtsu, the capital city of Shiga that borders the southwestern shores of Lake Biwa, so I was really excited to […]

Hello 2016

Oh gosh, it’s been a while! I had the best intentions to update these past few months, but my school workload got to be a rather intense for a moment there – and then when it was finally time to take a break for the holidays, it was non-stop traveling. Then once the holiday break […]

Kurama Fire Festival

I feel like I am always starting my posts with an apology, but again, sorry for the lack of updates recently! As expected, schoolwork takes a lot of my  time these days. But last week Thursday was a day of matsuri (festivals) for me here in Kyoto! Every year on October 22, Kyoto holds the […]

Hozo-gawa Boat Ride

Sorry for the lack of updates recently! The workload for my classes this semester has been tougher than I’d anticipated. We’re now two weeks into the semester, and I haven’t done much since this semester started except go to class and do homework. This weekend I finally got to take a break from studying to explore more […]

Fushimi-inari Taisha

Over the weekend, I went with some friends to Fushimi Inari-taisha (伏見稲荷大社), a huge and famous Shinto shrine known for its winding trail up the mountain lined with thousands of torii gates. I mentioned I was able to visit Fushimi Inari-taisha very briefly last week, but we were unable to finish the entire 2-hour long hike, so […]

Biking Along Kamogawa

One of my first priorities after arriving in Kyoto was to buy a bicycle. Back home in Hawai’i, I normally drive to wherever I need to go but driving as an exchange student in Japan is pretty much out of the question. The subways and trains here, while incredibly quick and convenient, are also fairly […]


Until today, most of my time here in Kyoto has been settling in at my dorm, getting ready for classes, and exploring Imadegawa, the area in which I live. Fortunately, this week is Silver Week, a near full week of holidays! This means we finally have a break from university orientation and paperwork, so a few […]