Monday, June 30, 2014

Retrospect of Central Japan

This article was first published in PinoyExchange,  it is to summarize the highlight of my 12 days trip in Japan. So I am posting it here to conclude my Japan travel blog series. 


Haneda Airport -
This is the most conveniently located airport in Tokyo. To avoid costly taxi fare, take the Metro line to the city, in just 30 mins.  If you will be arriving past midnight, would suggest you to spend the night in the airport (thru public seats, or capsule hotel), instead of spending taxi fare and accommodation in the city.

MUST TRY LOCAL DISHES: *in no particular order

1. Assorted Sashimi - try some exotic seafood such as: Fugu (Blowfish)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Japan Golden Week - A day well spent in Tokyo


We left Amanohashidate at 8am, to travel back to Osaka for a quick lunch stop.  Then at 1pm we travel back to Shizuoka, and arriving Mochan's place at around 7 pm.

On the way back, we pass by some interesting sites, such as the mountain and village view in Kyoto prefecture:


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Japan Golden Week - Discovering Amanohashidate


We had a long road trip (almost 6 hours) from Osaka to Amanohashidate a town in Kyoto prefecture.  Arriving in a beach house at Ine Town, we were welcomed by Kentaro-san  He showed us his fish caught that day, which he sliced it into Sashimi, for our dinner.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Japan Golden Week - Kobe


We left the house of Ohodo family in the morning, after driving 2 hrs we arrive at Kirin Beer Factory in Kobe.

The qilin, or kirin (Chinese: 麒麟; pinyin: qílín) is a mythical hooved chimerical creature said to appear with the imminent arrival or passing of a sage or illustrious ruler. It is a good omen to occasion prosperity or serenity.  It is often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body. It is sometimes called the "Chinese unicorn" when compared with the Western unicorn.

The park provides a brewery tour of the brewery to the public. When we visited the Kobe Brewery a young female guide showed us inside the building.

First she explained the outline of Kobe Factory. The factory was completed in May, 1997. Its area is 247,000m2 and its annual production is 300,000 kiloliters equivalent to 470,000,000 large bottles. She indicated to a panel to help explain the brewing process. Then we proceeded to the exhibition corner of materials such as barley and hops for beer and low-malt beer. 

Some of the participants took and handful of the materials and sampled their aroma. We were also able to taste barley juice that had been made in the brewing preparations.

Next we saw the packaging process through a window. I was surprised to observe the scene of the highest speed equipment of canning in the world, able to can 2,000 beer cans per minute. Cameras are off limits within the canning section of the factory.

At he end of the manufacturing plant tour, we were given a souvenir bag consisting of a can of Kirin coin bank, and a limited edition white can of Kirin Beer.

Plus, we were able to taste 2 glasses of fresh beer brewed (or other beverage for non alcoholic drinkers) there at the wide room that commanded a fine natural view of the surrounding mountains through the window.  
Many groups visited the Kirin Beer Park Kobe and after they earnestly listening to an explanation from the guide, they would chat merrily as they sampled the beer there.

View of the Kirin Brewery and Garden from the dining area -

After Kirin factory tour, we went to have lunch at AEON Kobe mall, I cant find Kobe beef in their foodcourt, so I had this Udon set instead,

After lunch, we drove to Kobe port city - Harbour view

Meriken Park is a waterfront park located in the port city of Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. The park features the Kobe Port Tower, Kobe Maritime Museum, and a memorial to victims of the Great Hanshin earthquake. 

Kobe Port Tower (神戸ポートタワー), a hyperboloid structure, is a 108 m high lattice tower in the port city of Kobe, Japan. Kobe Port Tower has an observation deck at a height of 90.28 meters. The red steel Port Tower offers a spectacular sight of the bay area and the surrounding area.

The construction of the Kobe Port Tower was completed in 1963. The unusual design with scaffolding cover at the top is liked by tourists all over the world. The massive tower decorated with lights all over presents a unique sight at night.

On the other side of the harbor are some food outlets, with some street artists

Since we don't have a CS host in Kobe, we drove back to Osaka for an over night at our own arrangement - I stayed at Super Hotel Namba, it is near Dotonburi, 黑門, markets, food streets.   This budget hotel is the best so far, since it is walking distance to shopping district, and it provides buffet breakfast.

That night, I went to have a unique dinner - Fugu.

Fugu (河豚 or 鰒 - literally "river pig") is the Japanese word for pufferfish and the dish prepared from it, normally species of genus Takifugu, Lagocephalus, or Sphoeroides, or porcupinefish of the genus Diodon. Fugu can be lethally poisonous due to its tetrodotoxin; therefore, it must be carefully prepared to remove toxic parts and to avoid contaminating the meat. 

After dinner, I stroll around the Namba shopping area, and was amazed by the artistically designed signboards of the restaurants around: 

Also tried the puff ice cream at this shop,

Electronic billboards along Osaka river never fail to amaze me.

Before heading back to hotel, I pass by an arcade shop in Namba, aside from the interesting computer arcade games,

another interesting place is inside the toilet, there is a small monitor on top of the urinal, which displays how much you have urinated in a video game format!

The day has been really fun, and each places we have been to has its own unique character and atmosphere which we will surely be missing.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Japan Golden Week - Nara & Ninja Village


Today, we first went to Nara, which is famous for its World's biggest bronze Buddha.  Before entering the temple compound, we have to pass by the Nara Park, where we were welcomed by the freely roaming Deers.

Nara Park - This beautiful lawn park extends 4km east to west and 2km north to south. Groups of deer, messengers of the gods, roam freely through the park. Its beautiful landscape with half-hidden views of temple and shrine rooftops enchants visitors throughout the seasons.

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