La Vista Daisetsuzan: A Serene Onsen in Japan’s Largest National Park

View of Mount Asahidake from our Room at La Vista Daisetsuzan

View of Mount Asahidake from Our Room at La Vista Daisetsuzan

Imagine waking up and sipping handground coffee while looking out the window of a mountain lodge at a beautiful alpine forest. Imagine sitting in an open-air hot spring listening to the calming sounds of nature. Imagine ending your day with a delicious multicourse meal featuring regional ingredients, artfully presented by attentive servers. You can experience all this and more at La Vista Daisetsuzan.

La Vista Daisetsuzan is a relaxing onsen hotel in Japan’s largest national park, Daisetsuzan National Park, and is situated at the base of Mount Asahidake—the largest mountain in Hokkaido. La Vista Daisetsuzan provides a luxurious natural respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life, as well as quick access to the Japanese wilderness. read more

Coffee Jelly: The Perfect After-Dinner Dessert

Coffee Jelly Dessert with Sweetened Condensed Milk and Whipped Cream

Coffee Jelly Dessert with Sweetened Condensed Milk and Whipped Cream

Coffee jelly makes the perfect after-dinner dessert as it combines your dessert and coffee in one. Coffee jelly consists of coffee gelatin mixed with sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream. This combination of ingredients and textures—strong coffee gelatin, light and airy whipped cream, and luscious sweetened condensed milk—marry together to create a delicious dessert.

I first encountered coffee jelly through meal sharing—a website that allows you to meet up with others to share a home cooked meal. Krishna invited me into her home and prepared a lovely Japanese brunch reminiscent of her time traveling in Japan. She served traditional miso soup with tofu and wakame seaweed, cold buckwheat noodles with a soy dipping sauce, and savory rice porridge with salmon and pickled plum. To my delight, she ended the meal with coffee jelly. read more

Geeking Out in Akihabara: Arcades, Anime, Cat Cafés and more!

Anime Figurines in Arcade Display CaseAnime Figurines in Arcade Display Case

Akihabara is a Tokyo district that celebrates Otaku culture (Japanese geek culture) and is a haven for fans of anime, cosplay, computer and arcade games, electronics, themed cafés, model kits, and more. You’ll experience sensory overload in Akihabara—everywhere you look, something is happening. People walk the streets bedecked in cosplay. Brightly lit arcades with prize machines beckon. Huge signs display larger-than-life anime characters. Visit Akihabara to let loose and experience otaku culture in full force! read more

Visit Tsukiji Market and Eat Fresh Sushi at Iwasa Sushi

Omakase Set at Iwasa SushiOmakase Set at Iwasa Sushi

If you’re a foodie traveling in Tokyo, you must visit Tsukiji Market—the world’s largest seafood market. It’s a mad rush of activity, especially in the early morning when most of the commercial purchasing takes place. Forklifts and small trucks whiz back and forth, workers stack enormous piles of empty Styrofoam containers for recycling, and every type of seafood imaginable is on display. The sheer volume of seafood sold daily is astounding—over 5 million pounds! read more

Escape and Unplug: Camping in the Dry Tortugas

From the Battlements of Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park

From the Battlements of Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park

There are few places where you can truly unplug and escape the frenetic pace of modern life. But camping in Garden Key—a remote island in the Dry Tortugas National Park located approximately 70 miles from Key West and accessible only by boat or seaplane—disconnects you from the rest of the world, both physically and digitally, letting you live in the moment.

Natural beauty and wildlife surround you at the Dry Tortugas National Park. Aquamarine waters stretch as far as the eye can see. Each evening, spectacular sunsets grace the sky—the fiery orb of the sun sinks into the sea, while the sky fills with brilliant pink and golden hues. On a clear night, the stars shine perhaps more brightly than you will have ever seen before, thanks to the lack of light pollution. read more