Karen Jensen Karen bounces between Brooklyn and Kyoto, and has been writing for TripSavvy since 2018. In her past life she studied Buddhism in Japan, and in places like India, Taiwan, and Oregon. She has written extensively about the modern mindfulness craze and what it means for Buddhist traditions around the world. Experience Karen’s first encounter with Japan was as a meek solo traveler in 2012. She spent a week alone in Tokyo, sleeping in the top bunk of a tiny hostel bunkbed with about a foot of space between her and the ceiling. Since then, she's returned to Japan many times to live, work, and study. Her Japan expertise comes from years of traveling around the country: she's been voluntarily buried under hot volcanic sand in Kyushu, slept in a yurt on the "art island" of Naoshima, meditated in temples in Okayama, indulged in opulent dinners of wagyu beef in Kobe, camped beside Japan's largest lake, and hiked sacred mountains in Wakayama home to wandering monks. The best Japanese Kit-Kat flavors she's tried so far: cantaloupe, sake, raspberry and mandarin orange. Education Karen holds a master’s degree in Religion from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Buddhist Studies from Smith College. About TripSavvy and Dotdash TripSavvy, a Dotdash brand, is a travel site written by real experts, not anonymous reviewers. You’ll find that our 20-year-strong library of more than 30,000 articles will make you a savvy traveler—showing you how to book a hotel the whole family will love, where to find the best bagel in New York City, and how to skip the lines at theme parks. We give you the confidence to spend your vacation actually vacationing, not fumbling with a guidebook or second-guessing yourself. Learn more about us and our editorial guidelines.