Tuesday, September 12, 2017

2017 Autumn Japan trip part 3 - Takayama, Kanazawa, Zen, Sake, Soya, Shamisen

Day 5, got up 'early too', as we usually we tend to sleep by 1030m or so, and by 7am, we're up and awake! A good time to run/walk around Takayama!

The other morning market.

It was off to Shirikawa-go. The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama are one of Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was bloody hot though, and we paid 1000 yen just to park a carpark adjacent to the main village.

can't recall this was, maybe the Soba lunch place.

View halfway up Shiroyama. It was still quite cool in the shade.

At the highest point at Shiroyama view point. The classic grass-roof of the village. Perhaps the most pretty during high winter, with thick snow on the roofs!

A snack before the hike, yes we're technically still in the hida region, and this cutlet was ultra crispy and flavorful, 5 stars out of 5!

Sake? Not in the middle of a very hot day.

Another postcard like view.

Lunch Soba Dojo http://ml.shirakawa-go.org/en/dining/399/. Pretty good Soba, with some hida beef (yes again), top up for 500 yen (nay it wasn't good). The sesame in the tofu agedashi was top notch though. so yums.

It was then packing up and leaving for the Zen-city state, 金沢 Kanawaza!
The wifey did the bookings and I thought this would be another sleepy town, with plenty of free parking everywhere. It turn out to be a good sized modern city. We stayed in a horribly-small (but affordable) hotel under the APA chain. The car park cost 1300 yen for 3pm to 11am. We're like WTF? Even cars need to 'check out'? And lots were really limited to first come first served. After driving out for dinner, there were no lots at the hotel and lots of arguing at the reception later, we parked around 10 mins walk away and had to walk in the rain back to the hotel. Bummer. Also the ONSEN is 'unusable' (According to the wife..as I chose to dream about sushi and zen instead of soaking in grim).

It was to Sake tasting/shopping at Fukumitsuya. http://www.fukumitsuya.co.jp/english/. Very nice shop with fabulous service. Tasting in little plastic cups though.

Explanation of where the rice was from and the degree of milling.

THeir top range,the Mizuho Sake. With water from Mt Hakusan, only Jumai Daigingio is made for this range. Vintage as well as reserve collection made for quite a pricey sake.

Dinner was at the near by Sentori Sushi

Chef de mission. 2nd generation since 1952.

Shiro-ebi, one of the highlights.

Buton, another high light.

Generally sushi was good for ~SGD$100/head, not mind blowing but really good for the pricing.

After this it was a short drive back the most cramped hotel, most boucy mattress ever.

Day xx. When you are on holidays, weekends & alarms go hand in hand when they jump out the window. This was our full day in Kanazawa and we had a quite a long program ahead. First off was to the Higashi Chaya region, where Geishas and Shamisens hold their turf. We had wanted to go to an Oden place first at the main train station (supposed to open at 10am, but in fact they open at 11am, pff). 

A the Shamisen shop. A delicious green tea before the shredding began.

Yawn0 yawn0 yawn 2... meh...

Yeah..we're talking

The teacher and student. (whom is whom)

Boredom grew and it was time to disturb other travelers Metallica's version of "Mary had a little cat and dog". (Shamisen's body is made of Cat or Dog skin, yes even TODAY, they are made from your favourite pets). 

A short dash and we found the tea place selling the lovely tea sold earlier.

1930s or so type of tea shop, i rike!

Pretending to understand the menu and choose.

The river that passes across Kanazawa. Full of traditional houses too.

Lunch was at Kotobukiya Kanazawa, http://www.kanazawa-kotobukiya.com/. A traditional house turned into a heritage place, it's full of authenticity with real Japanese in Kimono kneeling and serving. Food was really average and considering the price (~$SGD80/head), it was pretty expensive).

Only the squid was good.

Interesting chawanmushi


Chanced into the shop which sold the Sentori Sushi their Soya sauce, it was one of the best purchase of the trip. Naka roku 中六roku this is name of the shop

An afternoon walk in Omicho market (mornings would be better time actually if you'd like to eat some of the produce.

Fresh oysters from Ishikawa prefecture!

Botun ebi!

That's my thumb. Super crunchy and yummy oyster. cost SGD$12.40 each!

It started to rain and the next stop was ~1km away, my feet were hurting already but it's a bit short distance for a bus ride. It was walking along the streets till we reached Casa Samurai Nomura. An ex-Samurai house (300 yen/head), it has nice gardens, the best kept Samurai sword till date. Quite a small house,  nicely preserved.

The next place was a ~4-5 bus stops away ride on the 'Loop Bus'. This is the D.T. Suzuki museum. One of the founding fathers of modern Zen Buddhism, Suzuki was instrumental in the mid 1900s publish english books on Zen/Buddhism and many of his books are classics now. A few rooms here do not allow photography, leaving more for 'reflection' 

Loving the Zed type of garden, love willow trees (note to self, Bamboo and Willlow will line my fortress!).

Yes, face the wall and ZEN!

We looped back to the main station for Kuroyuri Oden! http://www.oden-kuroyuri.com/ It was ~6pm and completely full of diners.

Loads of Yummy Oden.

Jibuni is the most well-known dish of Kaga-ryori. Duck is stewed .

Beef Brisket, not the best. Overall ~SGD$30/head to get a good meal.

not completely satisfied earlier, and having a tad too much Sake and main stream beers, it was time to hunt for Craft! Here's Korinbo Jibiruba Craft beer near our place. Shinga Shogen (no. 1/7) are pretty good.

final night at Kanaza-wah!