Not all of the mosques in Istanbul are open to non Muslim visitors. But fortunately, the most beautiful and famous mosques in Istanbul around the historic core of the Sultanahmet area can be visited by tourists during the non prayer times of the day.
This photo was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2018 North American Travel Journalists Association Competition in the Photography, Arts and Culture -Online category.
You can’t visit Istanbul’s historic district without encountering a stray dog, or two or ten. They roam freely and apparently quite happily, and often become the star of the show, despite the iconic scenery around them. They lay down anywhere and everywhere and people will carefully walk around them. They appear well cared for and well fed. If a dog has an ear tag, then it is part of the Trap, Tag and Release program where the dogs are captured, vaccinated, fixed and then released back into their neighborhood. As with the cats of Istanbul, it takes a village to care for the dogs of Istanbul as well.
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The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or Blue Mosque as it is more commonly known, was completed in 1617. Legend tells that its architect misread the Sultan’s instructions and mistakenly interpreted “six minarets” instead of “gold minarets”. This was a problem because at that time, only the Great Mosque of Mecca had six minarets. To allay criticism, the Sultan then ordered that a seventh minaret be added to the Great Mosque in Mecca.
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Miyajima, Japan is most famous for the photos of its floating torii gate. But this lovely little island offers up lots of gorgeous scenery, both man made and natural. Read on to find out about what to do in Miyajima as I spent a day exploring its photogenic treasures.
As a teenager, I learned about the devastating effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. As an adult many years later, I visited the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park, and encountered present day Japanese teenagers learning their history in this living classroom for peace.
This story was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2018 North American Travel Journalists Association Competition in the Historical Travel-Online category.
I was on a mission. I was in Japan again for the third time in two years, and I wanted to see – and photograph – the perfect cone shape of Mt. Fuji. I hoped that on my planned one day Kawaguchiko itinerary, I would get my wish.
The shrines and temples of Nikko, one of Japan’s 21 UNESCO listed sites, are one of the many easy options for Tokyo day trips. You can do a Nikko day trip either as a tour from Tokyo, or you can go there independently. Either option has its pros and cons. Read my recommendations for a complete Nikko day trip experience.
The centerpiece and most visited attraction of the Nikko UNESCO World Heritage site is the Toshogu shrine. This final resting place for Tokugawa Ieyasu is like a peacock among the pigeons, an extravagant and elaborately colorful showpiece dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for almost 300 years.
Japan is one of my favorite travel destinations. I have visited three times in the last few years and could easily go back again and again. The unique mix of east and west in this culturally rich country continues to fascinate me. I am sharing my 25 favorite Japanese experiences and photos to inspire your next Japan itinerary to this amazing country.
The setting sun glows off the gold leaf on Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, aptly named the Golden Pavilion.