Takao #2

There is one place I love when going to Takao san, it is their restaurant Ukai! This is a beautiful way to finish the day in style, you can either hike in the morning and have a lunch or hike at leisure and get an early dinner, the last order is at 19h00 so dont miss out,

the restaurant is composed of old traditional houses they brought to create a village, each house is a “table” and there are houses for kitchen, service, etc. it is set in the woods with lovely gardens, it is a moment in time

 

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Food is about traditional cuisine, tofu, grilled chicken, river fish grilled in the park, tatami room, waiter in traditional attires, count between 7500 and JPY 10000 all included depending on your menu choice, it is a real experience, good food, good service, but extraordinary day!

 

Nara

What a beautiful day, a beautiful city. Nara, so far, remains my favourite place to visit in Japan, always peaceful, calmer than Kyoto, walkable, compact.

This Sunday, I decided to go early morning and walk around. It is always good to pay a visit to the shrine in January. I got my fair share yesterday, so many shrines in one place!

Nara used to be Japan capital and has 3 world heritage sites, you may access via the Kintestu train lines, the station is very close to the park and the monuments. I took the JR line to Nara JR Station, 50mn in rapid train from Osaka. It is 15mn walk additional vs Kintestu but you go along the shopping street, that’s ok.

Special from Nara are of course the deers but I was very happy to see that it is also Tsukemono (pickle vegetable) just like in Kyoto. I love those (watch the photos) and Kudzu.  I just received kudzu as a gift on Saturday and saw different types and flavours at the train station shop, it is a powder that you pour hot water over, it becomes a sticky juice and tastes matcha, ginger, etc.. it looks a bit like jelly, very healthy and plenty of flavour

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Allow 1 day to enjoy the city. I would recommend you go in the morning to appreciate the peace and quiet before the tourist groups arrive for their rush visit. There are 4 main locations around the park with the Daibutsu being the main attraction. All have their enchantment.

Kanazawa

Kanazawa is located 2h40 north west of Tokyo with the shinkansen. Many people call it the “small Kyoto” although locals would challenge this. they tell you that Kyoto is about Emperors while Kanazawa is about Samourai.

This city is not hitted as hard by earthquakes and has suffered as much from the wars therefore you can still find a lot of wooden houses and traditional constructions, along with shrines and monuments, plenty of tiny streets. It is very touristic. I found a lot of Europeans (French and Italian) and Americans (Canada and US) and hardly any Chinese or Koreans which is unusual these days in Japan.

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The city is known for the glass, they cut glass in a beautiful way, it became also a trademark as some corporations produce glass for the industry with very tech-saavy methods and the city has become a hot spot for automotive and aviation industries who come here for some of their tools.

Kanazawa is also known as the city of gold. you can even buy golden ice creams!! as you can see below, ice cream with a thin golden sheet over it, very funny (but tasteless)

Shinkansen started operating to Kanazawa a couple of years ago, and, since, it made a huge difference, the number of visitors had a boom and hotels are popping up like mushrooms. It had a massive and positive economical impact although the city feels a bit packed at times because of this.

Street Art

In Tokyo, I found out that the manhole covers can be painted, initially, I did not really pay attention and only found them pretty but never made the link that it could be part of The Japanese way until I noticed an article on a paper and that there is a manufacture for this in Japan

manhole art