about the author

nilsmug_small.jpgNils Ferry
Kyoto, Japan
originally from Tustin, California in Orange County
left handed
was sportwriter at daily newspaper that was bought out, which is part of the story of how I ended up here.
writing, editing, photography, web services, wedding officiant,
not a vampire or fantasy sports enthusiast
graduate of California State University, Fullerton; B.A., Communications, 1991
was once pretty good at fencing (epee), would like to recapture lost youth
no interest in anime whatsoever
was threatened with bodily harm by linebackers not to write bad things about their team’s 1-10 record
caught 13 largemouth bass in a single day
can use chopsticks
saw a garbage truck tip over
have skinny dipped on both sides of Pacific Ocean
nils and yoshiko on Burley Samba tandem



  1. Pam

    I really enjoy visiting your site. It’s beautiful.
    This is where I’ll have to come whenever I feel a little “homesick” for Japan (for me Kansai=Japan) after I move back to the States in April.

  2. Chris Tuttle

    Very nice site, I love the pictures!
    I’m Off to Kyooto for three weeks on Wednsday, It is nice to have a site that gives me some appreciation of what i will be seeing.

  3. Bryan

    I’m a fan of Asian culture, Japan in particular. I hope to one day get over there and school to learn the language fluently. You have a beautiful site, keep up the great updates and pictures! I’ll be sure to keep visiting!

  4. Shifty

    A very beautiful site you have here. I have hopes of visiting Japan someday. Futher hoping that I will attempt to learn Japanese again.

  5. John

    I was thrilled to see the photo of the philospher’s path with the blossom. I was in Kyoto last September and only got to briefly enjoy the city. Wish I was there now.

  6. David

    Finally, a blogger in Kyoto! I thought all of the bloggers were in or around Tokyo. I go to Kyoto once or twice a year. Your site brings back many pleasant memories.

  7. Jerry

    Thank you for letting me revisit Kyoto.

    I’m stuck in Iraq with the Army, but when this ends I will return to my home in the valley. I would be honored to buy you a drink at my favorite Saiin teppanyaki spot when that day comes.

  8. Eddy

    Your site is just amazing! I love all the pics. I can’t wait until I can get to Japan. I’m thinking of studying there in college (but that’s still year away).
    Keep up the excellent work.

  9. Micke Stanbridge

    I was in Kyoto this year with my Japanese partner Yoko
    This is a great web site and I keep coming back to Japan.
    I fly for Qantas out of Sydney and I love japan it is a great place.I liked Kyoto except the new station too cavernous but every day was enjoyable
    Regards and thanks for a great web site

  10. Tiffany

    I love your site! It brings back such great memories. I spent the summer of 2003 in Kyoto on an internship, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I love navigating the city– I cherish every day I spent there. Anyway, thanks again for the site, it makes me homesick for my home-away-from-home. (Boy, that’s a lot of homes!)

    Best wishes,

  11. Randy Channell

    Great page! (Check out mine when you get a chance.)
    Kyoto’s small if we haven’t already met yet I’m sure we
    will. (Drop by for a bowl of tea!)
    Keep up the good work.
    Randy Channell

  12. yuki

    I’m lerning English now! And I’m searchring introduce of Kyoto written by English. Your site
    is very nice! I love kyoto too!!

  13. justin

    Finally a nice blog from my neighbors in Kyoto. Yea! Let’s Kansai! I live in nearby Takatsuki. Look forward to visiting your restaurant recmnds.

  14. Marina

    Big HELLO from Split (Croatia) to you and your family!
    Thank you for making my net-life so much more interesting!! I love your site – it is one of my favorites!
    You have such a talent for showing a true soul of Kyoto. Every other site looks like a tourist guide. They show only a few tourist attractions in the city and that’s all. But there’s so much more about Kyoto… That is why you are the best! Beautiful pictures and interesting comments – what more could one want?!?
    I wish you and Yoshiko lots of luck with growing family. (Sorry no name ideas.)

  15. Tony

    How can I use your photos as wallpaper or desktop photo.. when I try.. they don’t come out right… thanks

  16. nils

    Thanks for comments, everyone. I’ve been replying by regular email rather than in the comments. I guess it looks like I ignore the comments. That’s bad. Justin, I lived for five years in Takatsuki, in Tonda to be specific. For some reason I found the people in Ibaraki to be more hospitable, but that was probably just my experience.

    Tony, I’m not sure what you mean. The photos are regular JPG format. Do you mean you don’t know how to save pictures from the web, or they aren’t the right size for your screen?

  17. Stuart

    Lovely site – keep up the good work! Came back to UK from Kyoto 6 weeks ago after a 2 week holiday…. a return visit is much needed methinks :)

  18. ayreen

    a fellow socali and calstate alum! (I’m from Long Beach and graduated at LBState with a Communications degree) I have also been living in Kyoto these past two years and i’m happy to make your acquaintance here in Japan. Your website presents the best insight to Kyoto…it’s one that I’ll look back on when i leave this beautiful prefecture!

  19. Chii

    This is an interesting site. I hope to visit Kyoto one day to learn more of traditional Japanese culture, as well as dressing up as a maiko or geiko. (though I wish I could become one…) The video in particular is fscinating, and I will continue coming to this site in the future!

  20. Traeonna

    I’m planning a trip to Japan (specifically Kyoto) within the next five years. I have dreamed of visiting since a small girl and now I will see that dream realized. I enjoy reading your website and it has helped me a little in my research as I prepare for my trip. My husband and I have discussed the possibility of moving to Japan several times, but we wish to visit first. It is nice to find Americans living in Japan…it doesn’t make it seem like such a dream to me…and I know that I won’t feel like I’m the only one. Anyhow…babbled on too much, but it was a delight to find your website.

  21. nederpiet

    Your site is a reflection of your beautyfull lifestyle!
    I’ve had the chance to travel in Japan and visit Kyoto twice. I had two gaijin friends who worked there as engrish teachers, and they showed me the city. Even went into the imperial palace. I remember an engrish pub called pig&whistle where the “foreign dogs” would meet. And I went to see the sun come up on the first day of the new year in the little park where the river splits. I spent a few weeks in your beautyfull city, and traveled Kyushu and Shikoku with my JR railpass, and enjoyed every minute of it. Went to see the steam in Beppu, the lava at Aso,I viewed the Sakurajima from the garden in Kagoshihma. The shinkansen is super, I enjoyed your picture of the new model, makes me wanna come back for more.

  22. cepo

    Thanks a lot for the website. Beautiful graphics/pictures and great sense of humor. I am a Kyotophile too. I have lived six years in the Miyako, but now I am in exile in the US. Eight more months before I get my MA and I can return ‘home.’

    During the day, I think of Kyoto,
    During the night, I dream of Kyoto.

    Keep up the good work, and I hope to meet you one day,
    Cepo, from Honolulu

  23. justin

    You saw a garbage truck tip over?!?

    Can’t get this city out of my head as i am now so far away. keep inspiring me to return.

  24. daveeee

    Great site & insight into Kyoto Nils!
    I love your photo, which i have rss’d to. Much like sushicam.com’s images, they have a depth of life and capture every last subtle detail.

    Keep it up :)

  25. Thomas

    great blog,
    hope to drink a beer somewhere in Kyoto, maybe at ING bar. Or you can come to see me at BonBon Cafe, near demachiyanagi on Imadegawa !

  26. Jenny

    Wonderful site =)with great pictures.
    I hope that one day I can travel to Kyoto and see and experience everything like dressing up as a geisha and see a maiko, geisha with my own two eyes.

  27. Betsey

    I really enjoyed your site. It was very interesting for me because I am your cousin. My mother was your father’s sister. It is very nice to see another side of my family. I live in North Carolina with my husband and 3 children. It was nice to somewhat meet you. Hope to hear from you and your lovely family.

  28. zen

    Nice site. Nice to read stuff from Kyoto area.
    my made in Japan wife and i will be moving back to Kobe area in the future, this site is a nice fix, until then. THere was a interesting blog from Kobe I was reading, but the guy is heading back to stateside, glad to find yours. I will set up a link on my site to get here easier.

    Ja ne!

  29. Richard Young

    Hi Nils. I like the style of your about section!

    If you ever wish to feature a little art, I’d be honoured to oblige with some images of mine. I specialise in dance and figurative fine art.

    Best wishes


  30. Bridget Chew

    HI Nils,

    It took a while to get to this point of contact but I am hoping you will get this email.

    I hit upon your profile under a search on Marathon Monks and saw your pictures and I am hoping that you may be able to help me.

    I work for the British artist Darren Almond based in London. Darren is an internationally know artist working in film and photography, feel free to Google him.

    Darren is coming to Kyoto around the 18th of March (soon)having been invited to create work for an exhibition at the University of Art and Design in Kyoto .Darren has been wanting to follow the route of the Marathon Monks but is struggling to find a English speaking local to do some research or share information.

    Darren also takes landscape photography at fullmoon (21st March) and would like to photograph Mount Hiei at night.

    He is looking for a translator and guide who has local knowledge on the monks. We understand some monks will be running on the 28th of March for a week but that is all.

    Do you know of anyone who could be a translator for two weeks, a guide or fixer?

    I will not bombard you on this first email but if you think you may be able to help it would be great.

    Email : thestudio@darrenalmond.com

    I very much hope I hear from you.

    Many Thanks

    Studio Manager

  31. Holly

    Wow looking at this site makes me a bit nostalgic-I lived in Kyoto for a year a couple of years ago. Definitely brings back good memories though! Damn I need some yatsuhashi….

  32. barbara

    hi nils,
    left handed people stick together……….so maybe you can help me with recomendation for a ryokan for my family on feb 18th. we are 7 adults plus 3 kids ages 5.8 and 10. looking for a great experience, but not super, super expensive. any suggestions?
    many thanks,

  33. Sara

    What a great site! Beautiful photos. I’m hoping to come to Kyoto for two months next year (June & July). People tell me that it is too hot in July and that my daughter (8) will not enjoy it. Please tell me that it is possible to survive the heat and humidity and that it is worth it! Looks like there is a great festival in July! Sara

  34. Silvia

    waaa, this blog is awesome, compliments!

    actually I visied both California, where you’re from, and Japan, where you currently live.

    I love both!!

    But I would definitely choose Japan.

    Despite summer boiling hot.
    Never ave I experienced such a humidity and hot weather such as Japan, even here in Italy.

    anyway, congrats for this blog, I’ll be your follower!

    greetings from Italy! ^_^

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