Articles written by: John Penisten

John Penisten

John Penisten has lived in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai`i for over 30 years. He has written four Hawai`i travel guides for different publishers while his articles and photographs have appeared in various local, national and international print and online outlets. His personal travel blog, Hawai`i TraveLog and his stock photo agency, Pacific Pictures, both at, include stories and images of the USA, Pacific Islands, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and other areas.

Mackinac Island Mansion
Chronological / Destinations / Michigan / United States

Michigan’s Mackinac Island

Late 19th Century Time Warp Stepping ashore on Mackinac Island, just off the northern tip of mainland Michigan in Lake Huron, is akin to stepping back in time. The island, a short ferry boat ride away from Mackinaw City, overlooks the famed Straits of Mackinac and Mackinac Bridge connecting lower […]

Toda-ji Temple, Nara, Japan
Asia / Chronological / Destinations / Island Nation

Kyoto’s Temples: Japan’s Cultural Icons

Perhaps one of the best ways to experience Japan’s tradition-rich culture is by visiting some of its numerous historic religious temples and shrines.  The old imperial capital of Kyoto has some of the nation’s oldest and best-preserved examples of this unique Asian architecture. Located in the south-central area of  Honshu […]

Oahu Market, Chinatown, Honolulu
Chronological / Destinations / Hawaii / United States

Discovering Honolulu’s Chinatown

Chinatown is one of the more ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhoods in cosmopolitan Honolulu, Hawai`i.   No other area of the Hawaiian Islands provides as much of a cross-cultural experience as does Honolulu’s Chinatown.  And while a stroll down its streets reveals the influence of other peoples and cultures, from Japanese […]

Stone lanterns, Toshogu Shrine, Nikko, Japan
Asia / Chronological / Destinations / Hotels & Resorts / Island Nation

Getting Soaked in Japan

Perhaps none of Japan’s numerous cultural icons are more endearing or significant to the Japanese people, and visitors as well, than the famed onsen (hot springs resorts/hotels and spas) located throughout the island country. A big part of the Japanese lifestyle is enjoying the numerous onsen, or hot springs resorts, […]

Seiffen, Germany: Christmas Takes No Holiday
Chronological / Destinations / Europe

Seiffen, Germany: Christmas Takes No Holiday

No other place in the world celebrates the Christmas season quite like Germany. And to experience the magic of Germany’s Christmas tradition, one need look no further than the small village of Seiffen in eastern Germany.

The Plate Lunch: Hawai`i’s Cross-Cultural Cuisine
Chronological / Destinations / Food / Hawaii / Hotels & Resorts / United States

The Plate Lunch: Hawai`i’s Cross-Cultural Cuisine

Long before there were such things as fine dining, five-star restaurants, and Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, there was the lowly yet revered mixed plate lunch, the islands’ original regional cuisine.

Loco Moco: A Hilo Original
Chronological / Destinations / Food / Hawaii / Hotels & Resorts / United States

Loco Moco: A Hilo Original

Despite its Spanish sounding name, the popular dish called loco moco is a distinctly locally-inspired Hawaiian edible. The loco moco is perhaps one of Hilo’s most significant and unique contributions to Hawai`i’s diverse culinary traditions.