A September 2006 trip
to Japan by Composthp
Quote: We set out to see the elusive Fuji-san and ended up chasing sakura from Lake Kawaguchi-go, Hakone, Takayama, Shiragawa-ko to Kanazawa.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 24, 2006
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 25, 2006
689 Ogimachi, Shirakawa-mura, Ono-gun
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 25, 2006
+81 (555) 83-3333
Moto-Hakone Guest House
Hakone, Japan 250-0522
+81 (460) 3-7880
Attraction | "Asa-Ichi (Morning Market)"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 25, 2006
The Asaichi Morning Market
Attraction | "Myoryuji Temple aka Ninja Temple"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 29, 2006
We came upon this house by accident. We were actually looking for the Nagamachi Samurai houses, but took a wrong turn. Upon purchasing the tickets, we were shown into the tea ceremony room where an English commentary briefly introduced the history and layout of the house and garden. Only three rooms were open to the public: the guest room, the tea ceremony room, and the exhibition room.This house was built in 1770, and is typical of a traditional samurai house with low ceilings to prevent enemies from drawing spears or swords and lacquered wooden beams and pillars for protection. It now houses artifacts of the Terashima family, specifically those of Kurando Terashima.The Terashima family was middle-class retainers to the Maeda feudal lord in the 16th century. Mr. Kurando, pen name Oyo, was the 12th in line of the Terashima family, and the most prolific. He was a fine painter and scholar, however, his attempts to introduce reforms in the government drew conflict among the conservatives. He was finally exiled to the Noto Island. The most notable feature of the house is the garden. It was designed by a famous painter, Urakami Gyokudo some 170 years ago. From the tea ceremony room, guests are able to walk into the garden to admire the features closer. It is said that the stones represented the mountains and islands while the moss, the ocean. The garden has an air of serenity, which echoed the calm exuded from the tea ceremony room. One can imagine Mr. Kurando and his guests sipping tea, and reciting poetry while admiring the garden. The garden is at its best in autumn. Getting there: Take the Kanazawa tour bus and alight at the #13 stop. It is near the Ohi Museum.Opening hours: 9:30am to 5pmEntry fees:Adult-¥300, ¥250 if you show the Kanazawa tour bus day pass and ¥200 if you are above 65 years old (applies even if you are not a citizen).
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 4, 2006
If you love Japanese food, Takayama is a food lovers’ haven or a weight-watchers' hell. The must eats are: Hida beef, hand-made soba served with wild mountain vegetables, ramen, pickles, peaches and apples, grilled Mitarashi dango, and the list goes on.Hida beef is to Takayama what giant-sized kani (crab) is to Hokkaido. There are full keiseki meals created to showcase the melt-in-your-mouth high quality beef. If you are a beef-lover, you will definitely enjoy the beef course in which beef is served in a variety of ways, from raw sashimi style to steaks. The best and most affordable way to enjoy this would be at the ryokan of course!
An excellent and less expensive way to sample Hida beef is a little hole in the wall snack shop serving only Hida beef kebabs. It is located just before the junction leading to Kajibashi bridge and Miyagawa Asa-ichi, to the left of Kokubunji Street. You will not miss this, if you do, follow your nose. There is usually a queue waiting for these special kebabs lovingly marinated and patiently grilled to perfection. At ¥500 per stick (ok, so it’s a little expensive for just four bites of beef), it is well worth the price and wait. The beef literally melts in your mouth on first bite, the juices filling your mouth and senses. *Ummm….heaven.*Just next to this is a thriving ramen restaurant and judging by the constant long queues outside the entrance, a popular one too. We went there for an early dinner just prior to the night festival. We ordered their special ramen with Hida beef while mom ordered the popular char siew (roasted pork slices) ramen. The noodles were chewy and the soup hit just the right spot, warming us as the cold evening approaches. The service was prompt and the staff, obviously experienced with serving foreigners, handed us an English menu without request. We did not have to wait long for our ramen either. We paid at the counter near the entrance and left satiated. It cost us ¥800 to ¥1200 for a bowl of ramen here.If your stomach is still hollow, cross over to the opposite side and you will find a small kiosk selling Mitarashi dango. These are rice pounded into paste and rolled into balls, skewered and grilled with miso or soy sauce. This 30-year- old kiosk is said to be popular among the locals and has won fave reviews in the local newspapers. The Mitarashi dango here is smooth and less rubbery than the usual ones we tried elsewhere. The soy sauce was not too salty and brought out the fragrance of the rice. For just ¥70 per stick, it is certainly more affordable. Vacuumed packed dangos are also on sale here for those who want to bring it home. To refresh your palate, check out the well next to the kiosk. The mountain water is clear and sweet. A small token of donation will be appreciated after consumption though.