Osaka & Kyoto

Last year I went to Tokyo and had an incredible time exploring Japanese culture for the very first time. Every day I found myself amazed of their way of living, behaviour and the simple beauty found in the most mundane things.

This time around I was able to visit two other cities in Japan. I found Osaka to be much more relaxed, and Kyoto was simply incomparable.

I fell in love with Kyoto!! I expected a very traditional city with older buildings, lots of temples and a very quiet scene – and it has all of that, but it’s nicely balanced as a modern and busy city as well with lots of nice cafés and restaurants.


Police officer biking in the park.

Osaka Castle 大阪城
The original castle has been through many battles and was at one point completely demolished,
the building we see today is actually a recreation that is completely modern on the inside.

The surrounding gardens.

My favorite part of it was the moat filled with growing greens. Wow!

The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
One day we took the train to Ikeda. Here you’ll find the ramen museum, which both kids and adults will enjoy.
It’s a fun activity where the main attraction is designing and creating your own cup of noodles haha.

This image shows a more quiet scene, but parallel to this is Dotonbori; one of the main streets
filled with blinking lights and huge figures promoting the many restaurants.
Try out some Osaka specialities like Okonomiyaki and Takoyoki.

餅匠 しづく
I’m so glad to have found this beautiful café that serves Japanese tea and sweets.
The tableware is beautiful and the whole set up is quite cute, ps. notice that peach mochi. Warmly recommended.

Shiawasenopankeki 幸せのパンケーキ 南船場店
Japan is known for their fluffy pancakes and we decided to try out this spot. It was a little too runny
for my taste and we had better pancakes at The Elk in Kyoto.
Depending on what you prefer you might want to try it out!

Hi. Completing my tourist look with this hat.


Yamamoto Roketsu Dyeing Studio
While searching for things to do we came across this indigo dyeing studio and I was immediately excited!
We went for my birthday :)

The process of painting with hot wax and dyeing it with indigo was interesting, and it was a truly fun
activity fitting for anyone. Time flew by and we ended up staying for 3 hours.

The older couple running the studio were so sweet and I honestly just want to tell everyone about this
studio so more people will come visit haha.

I’m recommending a place we didn’t even go to because it was fully booked -.-, but it seems so great.
Just look up those colorful DIY sushi plates.

An antique furniture shop in the front and a cozy café in the back.

Fushimi Inari Shrine 伏見稲荷大社
One of Kyoto’s most known attractions.

Wow. Thousands of mesmerizing red Torii gates leads up to the Shrine at the top,

and the higher you get the more spread out the toriis get.

Winding down with tea.

Kinkaku-ji The golden temple.
I wish we could see all the temples but we only had time for 3 of them and decided to visit Tenryu-ji, Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji.

I wish I had a zen garden like this. Mmm.

Nara Deer Park
We took the train to Nara to hang out with these cute guys who are able to roam around freely.
They are incredibly friendly and you can feed and pet them as much as you want :)

The wonderful bamboo forest.

See you again, Japan –



  • Reply Abril August 31, 2016 at 2:22 AM

    Your pictures are very beautiful, I want to visit Japan at some point in my life!!! A friend of mine recently went and told it was beautiful and that it was worth to suffer a little hunger xD

  • Reply Vanessa August 31, 2016 at 6:56 AM

    Your photos are amazing. A couple of my friends are in Osaka at the moment, and her photos along with yours are making me very jealous!

    Vanessa //

  • Reply Daria August 31, 2016 at 8:04 AM

    I would love to visit the dyeing studio and to see the deers! Everything both in Osaka and Kyoto sounds and looks so interesting – one day I will visit.

  • Reply Audrey August 31, 2016 at 8:58 AM

    I’ve heard so much about Kyoto and Osaka, and this post reminds me that I absolutely need to go there, especially to Nara.

  • Reply Klaudia September 1, 2016 at 2:28 PM

    I was waiting for this post. I’ve visited all of these cities earlier this year, while cherry blossom season. Your photos just took me back there. Thank you so much you beautiful, inspiring creature <3

    • Reply Maria Van Nguyen September 3, 2016 at 9:01 PM

      Lucky! I can’t even imagine how incredible it is during cherry blossom season!

  • Reply May September 6, 2016 at 6:55 AM

    this is wonderful. how long was your trip?

    • Reply Maria Van Nguyen September 6, 2016 at 4:58 PM

      Hi May. We spent 6 days in Osaka and 4 days in Kyoto.

      Looking back at it now – ideally I would love to stay at least 1 week in Kyoto and just 2-3 days in Osaka. They were both interesting cities but I personally found myself more attracted to Kyoto and its atmosphere :)

  • Reply Nick October 21, 2016 at 12:40 AM

    Hi Maria, you pictures are amazing. I am still waiting for my trip to Kyoto and hopefully soon! Just loving the nature and the culture there :)

    What camera you are using? I am currently looking for a camera as well to sort of accompany me when travelling :)

    • Reply Maria Van Nguyen October 21, 2016 at 7:37 PM

      Hi Nick. Thank you!
      Most of my pictures are taken with a Canon G1 X Mark II, but for our Japan trip I actually forgot my camera at home and borrowed my sister’s Sony A5000 :) It’s affordable, easy to use and express colors very vividly as you can see.

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