Travel

Inspired to Travel by Kintsugi Wellness

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There’s something I need to share with you.

With each trip to Japan, I become more inundated with a desire to want to learn more about the people, food and rich history of Japan. I wish I could stay there for several months, travel to different parts of the country and truly learn about and appreciate Japanese culture.

Luckily for me, someone else already did that and created an amazing book to share with the world.

Have you heard of Candice Kumai?

Described by Elle Magazine as the “Golden Girl of the Wellness World,” Candice Kumai is a Japanese & Polish American whose work I have become obsessed with. She is a trained chef, published author, podcast & content creator and overall amazing role model.

She not only creates clean and delicious recipes, many of which include matcha (my favorite), but also shares a wealth of knowledge regarding wellness and self care. Her latest book, Kinstugi Wellness was basically the only thing on my Christmas wish list, and was kindly gifted to me by my in-laws.

Kinstugi Wellness is a fusion of so many things Aaron and I are interested in – Japan, wellness, self-care, food and culture.

I spent a few quiet Sunday mornings reading her book cover to cover while sipping matcha tea and am now more inspired than ever to continue traveling and learning about Japanese wellness and culture.

In addition to the countless trips Candice took to Japan while growing up, she also stayed with her mother’s family in Japan for months, living and learning about the Japanese lifestyle & people. The end product was this amazing book, which beautifully ties her heritage and family with wellness and food.

Being Japanese and Okinawan American myself, I really connected with Candice’s words. I too grew up eating nourishing meals made from recipes passed down from generation to generation.

I think of our New Year’s food traditions of ozoni soup, nishime, soba, and mochi. I remember my Japanese Grandma encouraging me to eat kuromame (sweet black soybeans) every year for good luck. Even though I wasn’t particularly fond of the taste as a little girl, I enjoy it now.

I also remember spending New Year’s Eve in my Okinawan Grandma’s kitchen, rolling sushi and making nantu (Okinawan mochi).

There are so many Japanese and Okinawan characteristics and beliefs that Candice mentions in Kinstugi Wellness that makes me think of my own grandparents and parents. So many things, like having a grateful heart or enduring & persevering through hardships that make up who they are and in turn who I am.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to Japan a few times now. Each time I am astonished and amazed by the kindness of the people, their dedication to whatever they do and of course the food.

Japan is truly am amazing place that you must see for yourself. There is so much beauty in Japan, so much attention to detail that must be appreciated.

Naritsan Shinsoji Temple

After reading Candice’s latest book, I am feeling even more inspired to travel, not only to eat the delicious food (although that is a large component), but also to learn from the Japanese way of life. I would also love to visit Okinawa someday and truly take the time the be able to observe and learn from the locals.

Thanks to Kinstugi Wellness, I’ll be enjoying our future travels through a new pair of lenses. I encourage you to do the same!

I’ll also be trying a lot of her recipes that not only remind me of Japan and my own grandparents, but are also healthy, nourishing and have a fun twist. Avocado miso toast, anyone? Sounds a bit strange, but tastes amazing!

Appreciating and learning about your own heritage and that of others is truly a gift. There is so much the world has to offer through books, travel, food and experiences.


If you’re interested in Candice Kumai’s latest book, you can purchase it here on Amazon. In addition to all the wellness gold, a third of the book is filled with Candice’s recipes which stem from a fusion of her Japanese and California upbringing.

Candice also offers a lot of recipes for free on her website. And if you’re a matcha lover like me, you can visit The Matcha Shoppe for even more matcha goodness.

Matcha-chocolate chip cookies

If you try any recipes, let us know! And if you follow us on Instagram, you may just see a few of the recipes we’ve tried on IG stories!

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