— travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams —

travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams


SGMT — On my first attempt to get to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, being a bit of an idiot I ended up 40 km away, in Nara. But I found my way to the shrine later that day. * _ The distinctively orange torii gates of Fushimi Inari are paid for by companies or individuals — their names are […]


SGMT —  Dinner  — On my second day in Kyoto, I was feeling rather uninspired. There were still many places I hadn’t visited — including the infinitely Instagrammable Fushimi Inari shrine — but I was already having second thoughts about everything. I’d been to two lovely temples and they’d had all the “right” elements, all […]

Kodaiji Temple (Kyoto)

SGMT  — The Higashiyama ward is home to many temples and shrines. The Kodaiji Temple isn’t the most famous — that distinction goes to Kiyomizudera — but it’s also worth a visit if you are in the area. It was built in honor of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a badass feudal lord in the late 1500’s whose list of accomplishments […]

The seasons at Kiyomizudera Temple

SGMT – There are iconic images of Kiyomizudera Temple — images of the World Heritage Site’s wooden platforms and graceful dark roofs wreathed in cherry blossoms or maple leaves — but you will not find them here. Other things caught my eye, other markers of the passage of time, and although they can’t quite be called iconic, these are […]

Old Japan in the Streets of Higashiyama

SGMT – Narrow lanes, lovely temples, traditional Japanese architecture and…free food! Why you should stay in — or at least visit — Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward. (Plus: where to stay in Higashiyama) _ I didn’t know Higashiyama was one of Kyoto’s best preserved historic districts when I booked a 2-night stay at the Gion Ryokan Q-beh […]

Tokyo’s Skyscrapers

SGMT – If plans for the Sky Mile Tower in Tokyo are approved, it will become the tallest building in the world, with a height that will be twice that of the current champion, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. At a proposed height of 1600 meters — 1 mile, hence the name — it will be taller […]