Los Angeles Area

Los Angeles Area
Los Angeles Area

Travel Tips

Travel Tips
Travel Tips

Let's Go To: Kanazawa, Japan

I know for a fact that Kanazawa isn't somewhere people think of when planning their trips to Japan. I know this because I was born and raised in Tokyo and had only heard of the place. I had no clue about the history of the city, let alone where it was on the map (shameful I know but see below)! Turns out my Father had spent two years in Kanazawa for college before transferring to Tokyo and it's been a hot spot for domestic travel the past few years! From Tokyo station, we took the bullet train and traveled for 2.5 hours.

Let's Go To: Tokyo, Japan - Part I

Tokyo can be intimidating. Whether it's the cost or the amount of people, I completely understand and guess what? I was born and raised there! I may be biased but Tokyo really is one of the most exciting places you'll ever visit. The best transportation system, top notch customer service, the highest number of Michelin star restaurants in the world and the list goes on!

With all that said, I'm really excited to share my list of places I love, mostly because some of my recommendations include places that are not going to show up in any city guide - totally local approved! I'll be back with a Part II as well!

10 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Traveler

Happy December, everyone! Wow, when did December roll around? I feel like I just got used to writing 2015! I love the holiday season and if I'm being completely honest, I have more fun picking out gifts than getting them. Not to toot my own horn but everyone that's received gifts from me knows I'm a great gift-giver! It's so much fun! 

I've compiled a list of fun, some practical some not, gifts that are perfect for that traveler you know - or shoot, for yourself, you deserve it!


First Timer's Guide to Honolulu Hawaii


This isn't my first trip to Hawaii but it has been a decade or so and I was so excited to go back! I was determined to do everything touristy to familiarize myself again with Honolulu. Hawaii is such a special place. Surrounded by mountains and beaches, occupied by friendly, gorgeous people and delicious food.

Unfortunately while I was there, it rained for most of the time but I didn't let that disrupt my trip! I still managed to make it to all of my favorite places and some new ones as well!

Being Thankful

Drawn by yours truly.

I know a lot of you reading this are not in the United States but it's Thanksgiving tomorrow here. I wanted to post something a bit light hearted in leu of such a heartfelt holiday. 

Let's Go To: Detroit, Michigan


View from the hotel room.

If you read my previous post about my trip to Toronto, you know Detroit was my second stop to my birthday week. Toronto was completely new to me but Detroit happens to be a former home. I lived there a few years ago and to this day, consider myself an ambassador for Detroit, constantly working to change the image of the city. I can’t count how many people asked, “Detroit? For fun? Why?”. There’s no denying there are some dangerous areas around Detroit but what major city doesn’t? I certainly know that Los Angeles has some shady areas I would never even consider driving through, yet Los Angeles doesn’t have the stigma Detroit does.

Let's Go To: Toronto, Canada

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have seen that I gifted myself a trip out to Toronto and Detroit for my birthday this year. Perhaps a little known fact about me is that I am an avid hockey fan, specifically the Detroit Red Wings. I lived in Detroit for a while (more on that on the Detroit post!) and became a huge, borderline obsessive fan. 

While I lived in Detroit, I had never taken the time to travel up to Toronto (no clue why) and since the Red Wings were playing in Toronto and then back home on the same weekend, I decided that was the perfect birthday plan.

L.A Locals Love: Opaque

Welcome to another 'L.A Locals Love..' where I feature exciting places to eat, explore and visit in the Greater Los Angeles area. Click here to see the series!

Last weekend, I had an exciting and interesting dining experience at Opaque in Santa Monica. Why was it interesting? Because you dine in the dark. Yes, in utter darkness.

Pack With Me: Winter Travel

Untitled #11
Welcome to my 2nd post of my Pack With Me series! If you missed the first one, click here for my Carry On Essentials!

For my birthday week, I gave myself the gift of travel (shocker!) to Toronto, Canada and Detroit, Michigan. Of course it's cold over there by now; not this ridiculous 86 degree "winter" here in Los Angeles so I wanted to share with you what I'll be packing in preparation for "real winter"!

Let's Go To: Napa Valley, California

Visiting Napa Valley, also known as Wine Country isn't new for me. It's to the point where I can't even count how many times I've been there; maybe 20? I'm a huge wino; I studied wine quite a bit and have a small cellar at home. Don't be mistaken though, I'm nothing close to a Sommelier - unfortunately I'm not that talented. I do enjoy recommending wine to friends and pretending like I know a lot, though!

Napa having a vast amount of wine is a given but good wine needs good food and Napa Valley has the most amazing restaurants you'll ever eat at. So I decided I wanted to share 10 of my favorite wineries and restaurants in Napa Valley that I know you'll love!

L.A Locals Love: Kurios | Cirque du Soleil

Img via Wikipedia
Welcome to another 'L.A Locals Love..' where I feature exciting places to eat, explore and visit in the Greater Los Angeles area. If you haven't read my other local posts, click here!

Today I wanted to share a new Cirque du Soleil experience: Kurios - Cabinet of Curiosities. Thanks to a friend, I was able to participate in the Media Night where they perform for travel authorities, magazine PR and other influencers in the area before their Opening Night, which is today, Thursday October 15th for Costa Mesa. 

My Favorite Travel Apps

That's my little brother in Downtown Seattle! 
When it comes to travel apps, I've purchased, downloaded, loved, hated, deleted and recommended. It could just be my personality but I am so picky with my apps! If it's difficult to maneuver through, I'll never use it. 

It's been a couple of years and I feel like I've finally compiled a folder full of travel apps that I actually like, that are user-friendly and practical!  

So here it is, my un-fluffed look into my Travel folder on my iPhone 6!

L.A Locals Love: L.A Donut Festival

Image via
Welcome to another 'L.A Locals Love..' where I feature exciting places to eat, explore and visit in the Greater Los Angeles area!

My friend texted me about the Los Angeles Donut Festival about a month ago and about 3 minutes later, we both had our hands on the Sprinkle Me VIP tickets. It's the first Donut Festival ever, we had no clue what it was going to be like but when someone puts the word 'donut' and 'festival' together, how does one not get excited?

We're celebrating donuts? Celebrating with donuts? Whatever it is, yes please!

Let's Go To: Portland, Oregon

Right after my New York visit, I was off to Portland, Oregon. I actually lived there on and off for a total of four years and it's where I lived last before moving to Los Angeles. My first job out of college was in Portland and some of my best friends live there so when I fly out, it always feels like I'm going home.

With all that said, I'm really excited to introduce my favorite spots in the beautiful, quirky but stunning city of roses.

Let's Go To: New York, New York

I usually have a great introduction in mind when I'm writing a post and full of ideas but this time around, New York blew me away so much so I have no idea how to start this. My brain is teeming with things I want to talk about because simply put, New York is amazing! Is that good enough? Seems like an understatement. Here we go....

Let's Go To: Seattle, Washington

It's true, I consider myself a semi-professional when it comes to knowing Seattle and the surrounding areas. My parents have a summer home, my Grandparents and a ton of my close friends live here - it's my second home.

Every summer, my family flies out from Tokyo and I fly out of wherever I'm living that year (hehe) for about two weeks. I've spent many summers throughout the United States and there's nowhere I would rather spend the months of July and August. The weather is perfect.

This isn't the typical "Top places to visit in Seattle" because you can find that on a million other websites. What I'm about to show you is a list of random things someone that's been to Seattle a thousand times still loves to do. Enjoy!

Pack With Me: Carry-On Essentials

Untitled #10

Tomorrow I start my adventure where I'll be on 6 flights within a 2.5 week span and have been mentally planning my packing process since a couple of weeks ago. Even though I despise packing, when people find out how much I travel, they always ask me these questions: 

"What are your carry on essentials?" 
"What's the best way to pack?" 
"Do you have any packing tips?"
"What's the best way to fold clothes?"
"How can I avoid checking a bag in?"

So, I decided to put another series together: Pack With Me! I'll be sharing what I pack for different trips, how I pack, what travel items I'm loving, packing hacks, etc! I say 'another' since I started "L.A Locals Love.." where I introduce awesome places in and near Los Angeles - click here for the latest one!

L.A Locals Love: The Orange County Fair

Welcome to the first post of my new series: L.A Locals Love... I'm lucky enough to live in a city where millions of people travel to as a vacation destination. I get asked for recommendations all the time regarding what to do, where to go, where to eat, etc - in Los Angeles or surrounding areas. That's why I decided to start this series to introduce places, eats and events throughout the L.A vicinity in hopes to inspire future visitors. I hope you love it!

Let's Go To: The Queen Mary, California

Living in Southern California has its benefits. One of them being, there are so many places to enjoy "staycations" just by driving a couple of hours (more or less) in whatever direction. This time, we went out towards to Long Beach. We were there for a celebration aboard The RMS Queen Mary, a retired passenger ship moored at the port of Long Beach. The Queen Mary now serves as one of the most visited tourist spots in the Los Angeles area; a wedding location, endless event space, several restaurants, tours (the haunted tours are the best!) and of course a hotel. Since we were going to be out there for dinner, we decided to stay overnight aboard the ship; I'm such a history geek, I was giddy all week. 

Let's go to: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

I just returned from a 5 day trip in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was my first time in Mexico and while some may say it's "not really Mexico", I was happy and excited to be there. We left from LAX early in the morning via Alaska Airlines (one of my favorite airlines, ever!) direct to Cabo San Lucas. The flight was surprisingly short, about 2 hours. I had no idea there was a time difference, either!

Ready For Departure

I've had a lot of people ask me about my travel plans for the rest of the year and I thought it would be a great 1st travel-related post for this blog! As a side-note, the Long Beach trip may seem a bit odd as I live in Los Angeles but I felt it was worth listing because I'll be staying onboard the Queen Mary for a celebration. 

I can honestly say I've never traveled this much before; some are to new places and some back to old favorites but I'm looking forward to all of them. 

It's been an exciting week on Instagram, getting to 'meet' some fellow travelers, photographers and wanderlusters of which every one of them are incredibly inspirational. If you're not following me yet on Instagram and/or subscribed to this blog, I hope you do! I would love for you to join me as I frolic through the above itinerary through the end of this year! 

Next stop: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 

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Before I start sharing my adventures, I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and how I ended up here.

I was born and bred in Tokyo, Japan in a multi-cultural family. My Mother is American and my Father is Japanese. While in Tokyo, I was lucky enough to be enrolled in an International School with students from over 55 countries, which made my upbringing even more diverse. Even luckier for me, my parents loved traveling. We traveled abroad multiple times a year and needless to say, I learned to love it.

Fast forward several years, here I was in Los Angeles, having lived in 2 continents, 5 states and 8 cities, I still hadn't had enough. I traveled as much as I could in the last few years but I was slaving away in the corporate world. I abandoned my freedom, hobbies, relationships and health.

Earlier this year, something personal happened to me and I decided to do the unthinkable. To my boss's surprise, I turned in my notice and closed the door to my office in downtown Los Angeles. I'll never forget driving home in tears that day not from loneliness and frustration but for once, from relief and happiness. 

So here I am, a few months into occasionally working remotely but mostly traveling, mending old relationships and making new ones, without really much of a plan other than knowing I want to - you know, keep traveling!

I'm incredibly excited to be chronicling my travels and sharing it with family, friends and all you travel-lovers, dreamers and wanderlusters. I hope you'll join me!

You can follow me on Instagram, Bloglovin' or subscribe by e-mail!

xo, Kana
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