This article originally featured in the January 2020 issue of Connect.

Travel Editor: Hoong Shao Ting (Nagano)


In the second week of December, I had the opportunity to exchange my usual mountainous backdrop for Lake Biwa in Shiga as I attended a week-long training for the JET translation and interpretation course. This also meant that I was able to escape the cold and go for morning strolls to see Japan’s biggest lake from Karasaki Shrine.

Despite being brain-fried from the intense course, I decided to stay a night in neighbouring Kyoto after the training ended, to catch the tail end of the momijigari (lit. autumn leaf-viewing) period. The decision proved to be an excellent one, as the fire-red leaves warmed my heart before I had to return to icy Nagano.

It was a short stay and we could not hit up many places, but my friends and I wholeheartedly recommend these spots you might want to check out for autumn in 2020!

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Yachiyo (八千代)

This is a 湯豆腐 (Yudofu, tofu hot pot) restaurant with reasonably-priced, yummy food and a nice zen garden, located along the road leading up to Nanzenji.

Komori (小森)

This dessert shop in Gion has a wide array of parfaits and amazing warabimochi.

Kitano Tenmangu (北野天満宮)

The shrine’s garden features a river lined with maple trees, and a plum tree grove which should be gorgeous in spring too!

Kodaiji (高台寺)

The illuminations at the pond and in the bamboo grove add wonder to the quiet night. There is also a beautiful, lone weeping cherry blossom tree you can see in spring.

Eikando (永観堂)

Every corner of the place is interesting (think grand prayer halls, quaint gardens, etc.)!


When she is not discussing Sumikko Gurashi with her elementary school students, you can find Shao Ting planning her next trip or looking for yummy desserts. Find out what she has been up to inSakuraLand!