Tea in Japan

Here is one of the most famous and as well unknown products of Japan. Everyone would recognise Japan as the place for tea, the tea ceremony, the matcha, but no one really knows where it is from, how it is grown, the history behind it.  I am very curious about it and really want to explore the Shizuoka area with a guide and understand the culture, as it is known as one of the top 3 areas in Japan for tea

Less than a month before Sakura and excitement grows!

every year brings its share of business opportunities – a Sakura Bar opens in Minami-Aoyama

Last year was beautiful and we were blessed with the weather, no rain at all, blue sky, Cherry blossoms started on Friday 24th March, allowing to enjoy 2 full week ends!!

 

Kanazawa easy to visit

Kanazawa is becoming very accessible with the Shinkansen in 2h40 from Tokyo. Also, Cathay Pacific will start operating in April to Kanazawa so our neighbors will discover this jewel

please check Kanazawa but also Food in Kanazawa and Kanazawa market. Highly recommend to visit Kenrokuen, one of the 3 most beautiful gardens of Japan

 

Light

When you relocate to Japan, the country of the rising sun expression takes its full expression as you can really appreciate the very special light here

Day rises very early, in the summer time around 4.45am in Tokyo, in winter time around 5.50 am, and sunsets fairly early between 17h00 and 18h00

Autumn and Spring display beautiful Sunrise lights especially and I can tell we are out of winter now in Mid February trusting on these colors

Autumn colors

 

For those of you who wonder what the best season to Japan is, I would say that you need to consider October and November for the autumn colors

Part of the Shinto philosophy is about the nature and Japanese citizens take time to admire nature and season changing. We got into that mode too and spend a lot of time outdoor, peace, hike, wander, weather in Japan is a blessing in that season. temperatures gradually decrease from the exhausting 38 in the summer (90% humidity) to 10 in December, blue sky, dry air, very nice

Wakkanai

That’s it!! I can now say that I explored Japan from North to South, from Wakkanai to Ishigaki!!

We spent 3 days at the end of November in Wakkanai, and visited the northernmost point there.

CLIMATE

VERY cold and snowy already

 

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AMBIANCE

SOOOO unique… it felt like there were no inhabitants, very special, hardly any cars, hardly any people outside in the streets, very old fashioned shops. Most of them have signposts in Russian since we are so close.

There was a very limited choice of restaurants in town, so much so that we had to plan our 3 days around that list and booked them, stick to their working hours, etc

it is also the last train station up north, 2 trains a day to Sapporo, first time that we go to a station where you watch the train coming to you through the window as the rail does not go beyond (see above photo)

 

FOOD

amazingly fresh, simple, fish based, excellent, every meal was of very good quality

we had one lunch above the fish market, that was cute, 2 senior ladies run the place, tatami rooms, set lunch with excellent sashimi

we also had a very good dinner in a sashimi/sushi place

 

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overall, great if you like fish

We realised it had been so many years since we could tell the closest restaurant chain was over 3h drive away (no starbucks, no mc donald, no TGI etc,), there were actually no chains at all and it was even difficult to find a Kombini!! On the Sunday, I needed cash and could not find any ATM, go prepared

PEOPLE

really nice and smiling, curious, happy and proud to see us visiting, willing to share

 

HIGHLIGHTS

fish market – a small place but fantastic products, the fishmongers really tried hard to show us, explain, and even took us in the back office to see the crabs

Northermost point – so windy and cold but wild and beautiful, this is a 40mn bus drive from the train station, very easy, there is a bus every 20mn, they dont take suica or pasmo, you have to buy the ticket at the counter in the station or in the bus if you have change. Once there, apart from the monument itself, there is a hill with a windmill, a shrine and a breathtaking view over Russia and the sea, but my god, was it cold and windy that day!!

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this is a great place for a quiet week end – hiking and walking in the summer must be beautiful – in the winter, meditation, peace,

on day 2, at breakfast, there were deers in the garden behind the hotel. on day 3, we saw more of them wandering in the streets. a different Japan all together, we will go again! loved it after all

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